Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wartburg College

Last fall, Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa welcomed a group of Thistle Farmers into their community with open arms. Rev. Becca Stevens spoke for their convocation and Katrina, Chelle and Penny gave testimony to the students about the gift of community in their lives.

Ramona Bouzard, Dean of the Chapel at Wartburg College, had the following reflection on the event:
"Becca Stevens and the women from Magdalene House who visited the Wartburg College campus energized our entire campus community. The message of love and hope that Becca brings is a perfect fit for a college community whose mission includes a focus on faith, learning, leadership and service.

By the time the convocation at Wartburg College was over there were lines of students waiting to speak to Becca about the ways they could connect with Thistle Farms and the work of Magdalene House. A winter term service trip was immediately planned as part of our 2011 service trip program and two of Wartburg’s faculty are making plans to visit during the summer in order to connect with the work and learning opportunities.

The opportunity to connect with the fine women leaders who came with Becca Stevens helped students explore their own sense of vocation and gave them new ears to hear God’s call to live out their faith in their own lives as they contribute to communities based on the renewal and power of love.

Becca’s preaching and presence in Wartburg College’s weekday chapel was an added gift of grace in the lives of our worshipping community. Our students are hungry for the hope that the good news of the gospel brings, especially when it is incarnated in the lives and stories of women who know how hard the work of love can be."
Student Haley Flores was present for the gathering and said, "They are a valuable testament to how people truly are capable of change. Through honest and heartbreaking testimonies, these women spoke of past struggles I couldn't imagine enduring. Through Magdalene and Thistle Farms, they chose to turn their lives around and share their inspiring success with others around the country."

We are incredibly grateful to everyone's hospitality at Wartburg College and look forward to your visit this year!

For more information on college and university visits, please email

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Night Of Music At Fanny's

You're invited to Fanny's House of Music on Saturday, January 22, for a big ol' live music party! For only a suggested donation of $10, stop by this cute East Nashville house starting at 5pm with live music by Amanda Williams, Glen Philips & Doberman Clinton. DJ Scott Southworth The Music Row Show will be officiating.

Also, Jennifer & Gwen from Thistle Farms will be on hand to talk a little bit about their experience and, of course, selling our natural and handmade bath and body products... perfect for your dry winter skin!

Fanny's will be featuring a Silent Auction benefitting Magdalene & Thistle Farms, with items including:
A Waterstone guitar or bass
Jewelry from Wonders on Woodland
and salon gift certificates
...just to name a few!

Put on those snow boots and make your way over to 11th & Holly Streets this Saturday and support the first and only female-operated full-service music store in Nashville.

Thistle Farms To Be Featured On CNN This Sunday

Thistle Farms will be featured in a CNN News special debuting on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT). CNN correspondent Amber Lyon has led a yearlong investigation into the US sex trafficking industry and visits Magdalene/Thistle Farms in conjunction with the successful administration of its “John School.” The Magdalene/Thistle Farms Prostitution Solicitation School (John School) teaches new behaviors to criminals convicted of soliciting prostitutes and is administered on a volunteer basis every six weeks by Kenneth Baker, Program Director of Behavioral Treatment Providers.

“The John School has generated over $500,000.00 of funding for Magdalene/Thistle Farms and helped us to provide housing, medical care, education and job training to enable women to leave a life of prostitution on the streets,” commented founder the Reverend Becca Stevens.

CNN filmed part of this documentary at the newly renovated Thistle Farms, Magdalene's social enterprise, where residents hand make bath and body care products. The CNN team interviewed and filmed some of the 30 women employed at Thistle Farms. Katrina Robertson, a graduate of the program and National Sales Representative for Thistle Farms, discussed how the community had made it possible for her to leave a life hustling on the streets and enter a fulltime career.

Stevens added, "This CNN feature will provide the greatest exposure to the vision and work of Thistle Farms to date. We hope that people will see the program and recognize that purchasing our bath and body products, online or in stores, is a great way to make a difference in the lives of women who have been directly impacted by prostitution and sex trafficking."

Be sure to watch this Sunday and let us know your thoughts!

The CNN Team interviews Magdalene graduate and Assistant Resident Manager, Shelia Simpkins-McClain, for the special Selling The Girl Next Door.

photo by Carolyn Snell

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Take A Trip To The Farm

Last spring, I read a post by a native Nashvillian, now living on the west coast. She is a photographer (a really, really good photographer) but took the time out of her busy schedule to give us some love. I contacted her and invited her to Thistle Farms the next time she was in town so we could give her some love back.

A few months later, Lindsey Freitas of BellaLu Photography did stop by for a visit -- and she brought her camera. In just a couple of hours, Lindsey captured the beauty of the women creating natural handmade bath and body products. She graciously donated her time and amazing skills and left us with lovely photographs to use as we wish.

We're excited to share these with everyone we know, because they truly give you a sense of who we are and what we do! We've put together a little slide show of them on our Flickr account which you can enjoy here.

Thank you, Lindsey!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany
or Three Kings’ Day,
in which it remembers the coming of the wise men
bringing gifts to visit the Christ child.
It is often viewed as the last day
of the Christmas season...
which is why it's the perfect time
to post one last picture from the festive season!

This picture was taken at The Farm at Natchez Trace
as they hosted the 3rd Annual Magdalene Christmas Party
for all residents.
The women look forward to this amazing experience every year.
One resident said she received her first perfume
and another said she was now for sure spoiled.
It is one of the highlights of the year
for the community of women
and we are thankful to everyone at The Farm
for making this possible once again for another year!