The Tennessean has published a profile of Episcopal priest Rebecca Stevens, the founder of Magdalene Recovery Center, a residential program in Nashville, Tenn. for women who pulling themselves out of prostitution, drug addiction and violence. The feature tells her story through the story of one of the women whose lives her work has transformed: former prostitute and drug addict Anika Rogers, who came to her after her 87th arrest. After therapy, classes and recovery work, Rogers started working for Thistle Farms, and started traveling with Stevens to tell her story. Those travels included her first airplane flight:
“I felt so close to God up in the sky,” she said. “It’s how I grasped the idea of my higher power. When you’re way up in the sky, everything looks perfect down there. That’s when I realized that’s how God looks at me. Perfect.”
The feature announces an upcoming recognition for Stevens’ work.
Stevens, 51, an Episcopal priest, has been showing love to thousands of women through Magdalene since the program started in 1997. She also has created jobs for those women by starting two not-for-profit businesses, Thistle Farms, which ships lotions and candles around the country, and Thistle Stop Café, serving up herbal teas and sandwiches in West Nashville.
For those efforts and countless others, Stevens will receive the lifetime humanitarian award at the T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala on March 30.
Stevens insists that the women she helps — like Rogers — actually help her more than she helps them.
“I will always be indebted to Anika,” she said.
The full story can be found here.
Photo information: Becca, Tracey, Anika & Nancy from Thistle Farms; photo by Kristin Sweeting.
Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett