It actually started out rather selfishly. I was going through a depression. I had ended a relationship, was leaving a job, had somehow stumbled off the path I had worked so hard to get on. I was looking for community, I was looking for purpose, I was looking for… God. In the midst of my searching, I thought I would do my humanly good-deed-duty and volunteer somewhere. I figured I could squeeze an hour a week to clear my mind and my conscious.I discovered a place for women with histories of drug addiction, abuse and prostitution. Though I wasn’t sure I could actually offer much to a group I assumed I nothing in common with, I checked it out anyway. In my very first “meeting” – a morning meditation, set up in a circle, with women from all walks of life, sharing their day-to-day introspections – I suddenly understood THIS was the place I needed to be. A safe place where I could learn about real faith, see the healing power of love, find true community… all while learning about forgiveness (of others and myself) and how to heal my own wounds in the process.
The organization is called Magdalene. For two years, women who have been beaten and broken and forgotten are given a free place to live. In that time, all of their needs are met -- physical, mental, psychological and spiritual. Thistle Farms is a nonprofit business operated by the women of Magdalene. By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as kind to the environment as they are to the body. All sales proceeds go back into the program, which continues to help other women come off the streets and into sanctuary.In my own two years that I’ve been here, I have also become a part of this community. I’ve made thistle paper. I’ve interviewed women and learned their stories. I’ve created a blog. I’ve given products to friends. I’ve gone into prisons. I’ve laughed at the absurdity of it all. I’ve realized we are more alike than we are different. I’ve found healing – slow and steady and painful and beautiful healing.
My love is with the bodies that have had enough. With the tears that can finally shed. With the walls that are slowly coming down. With the smiles of hope that are back again… or maybe for the first time. I want everyone to know about this group. Not only because of the amazing women who hand make a whole line of lovely bath and body products, but also because this is where it all makes sense. This is where you can learn to say, I’m sorry and I love you… while looking in a mirror. Where you can feel a part of a worldwide movement and an intimate community.Where you can find God.