With the success of speaking at the Tennessee Prison for Women Department of Correction in Nashville, Magdalene/Thistle Farms, partnering with Abingdon Press (the publishers of Find Your Way Home), have embarked on a new journey, sharing hope with those who so desperately need it.
The Find Your Way Home Prison Tour is a 10 city tour sponsored by The Cal Turner Family Foundation. Its purpose is threefold:
1) to share the story of Magdalene with women inside prison walls, reminding them that they can create communities of healing because no one is so lost they can't find their way home,
2) to share the large message of hope and love as powerful forces for change, reminding each other that there is always hope
3) to continue to help educate the wider culture about the truth and myths of why women walk the streets and how we can welcome women back into the larger community.
It's about learning to love the whole world, one person at a time.
On November 14, as part of the tour, we visited Gadsden Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, FL. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Abingdon Press author, shares her reflections:
We began on Sunday at Killearn United Methodist Church, preaching at all the services and speaking with a group of people interested in starting new prison ministries to women.Gwen, who has four years clean, and Tara, who has three years clean, spoke eloquently about the journey through prison and the transformative path of love and hope they experienced in Magdalene.John Kutsko, Publishing Director at Abingdon Press and coordinator of this tour, jumped in and served as photographer and Thistle Farms salesman. We sold out of our products and books before the third church service began.Our journey through prison included speaking and singing to two groups of inmates, sharing 200 copies of Find Your Way Home, seeing past the sea of blue and white prison uniforms and hearing the stories of hope and longing from the women.The day was awe-inspiring and everyone from Rick Seiter, the COO of Corrections Corporation of America, to Joyce Arnold, the warden, was a gracious host.
Seeing the women work in the green house and with the greyhounds were highlights of the day. At one point, one of the inmates was singing harmony to "Bless The Broken Road." I looked over and tears were running down Julie's face.
I believe the tears were about feeling both the brokenness of the road the women have walked and the tenderness of their collective story that still ends with the word hope.