The Rev. Frannie Kieschnick has been a dear friend to Thistle Farms. We asked her to write the dedication of the new Share the Light Campaign to author, activist -- and Thistle Farmer -- Isabel Allende.
What a huge gift, as well as an honor and a responsibility, it was for Thistle Farms to be awarded the Isabel Allende Foundation’s annual $80,000 2014 Espiritu Award. Isabel created her foundation with the proceeds from her writing and in the name of her beloved daughter Paula, who passed away at the age of 28.
However, the gift wasn’t only in the form of the generous infusion of financial support just when Thistle Farms was launching it's global initiative, Shared Trade: A Fair Share for Women. It was also the infusion of light which filled and flowed from each of the women invited to Isabel’s home last fall to witness her presenting the award to three Thistle Farms women, Becca, Anika and Shana.
Sitting in a sacred circle that night, we did what we always do together. We lit a candle for the unknown women who remain in the darkness of despair, addiction, poverty, prostitution, and trafficking.
Then we went around and shared about someone who has been a light for us in our lives, especially in a dark time. We wept and laughed. We fell in love with each other in that circle of sharing our stories without even knowing everyones’ names. We celebrated the presence of Paula’s compassionate spirit and we watched Becca and Isabel, two magnificent, beloved, feisty, radiant women, lean lovingly toward one another sharing the same passion for justice for women, especially the most vulnerable.
Soon after the evening of that intimate gathering at Isabel’s home, she received the Presidential Medal of Honor. As President Obama presented her with the honor, he said of her that she writes about the big stuff, about families, magic, romance, oppression, violence, redemption, and makes them accessible. Through her foundation, she ensures that women and children facing violence and oppression can gain access to resources to transform their lives, and to thrive, not just survive. Doesn’t this sound like Thistle Farms and Shared Trade?
It was during that gathering at Isabel’s home, sharing in a circle and in a meal, that a flicker of an idea began to burn in the hearts of the Thistle Farmers. That flicker has caught fire and become the Share the Light Campaign.
Through her foundation in honor of Paula she shares the light of hope. Through the Espiritu Award she has shared the light of hope with Thistle Farms. How can we not dedicate our Share the Light Campaign to Isabel Allende? -- Frannie Kieschnick