A Place about Mercy
Publication Year: 2012
However, the story of the Magdalene community is not about these statistics, but about the stories the women tell. They say they thrive in the community because it is a place where they are free to be themselves, safe to give and receive love, and free to speak their trutheven to complain sometimes about how their storytelling is exploited "for the good of the community." A Place about Mercy is a participantobservation account of the history of this remarkable community founded in 1997, its structure, its Thistle Farms beauty products operation, and Reverend Becca Stevens's communal and spiritual vision. The book is finally about what it means to walk the path of healing with a group of unlikely women as guide.
Magdalene House was the subject of a multiplepart documentary on National Public Radio.
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
Download PDF (507.9 KB)
Download PDF (430.9 KB)
Table of Contents
Download PDF (401.8 KB)
Download PDF (409.5 KB)
During the course of writing this book, I have been supported, encouraged, challenged, and loved by too many people to count. This book would not be possible without them, nor would my life be nearly as rich and full. “Thank you” seems an inadequate...
Download PDF (425.1 KB)
Consider Tam, a woman who grew up in a home where her alcoholic stepfather, a well-regarded clinician, was emotionally abusive, yet revered.1 Tam started drinking when she was eleven, and was addicted to alcohol and using other drugs by the time she reached...
Download PDF (494.5 KB)
My first exposure to the Magdalene House program took place during my first year of graduate school. One of my professors assigned a project for which each student had to observe a local service organization and conduct an evaluation using a particular...
2. The Path of Illness: How Women Get to Magdalene
Download PDF (491.9 KB)
There is no formula that neatly predicts a woman’s progression to the streets. If you were to ask the women at Magdalene, “How did you get to Magdalene?” you would quickly realize that there is no one experience they all hold in common: many had abusive parents,...
3. The Story of One
Download PDF (471.9 KB)
Because narratives of addiction and recovery are so often individual stories of personal failure and triumph, one of my goals in writing this book is to help connect these individual stories— their accounts of abuse, despair, poverty, healing, hope, and change—...
4. Health and Healing: Seeking Definition
Download PDF (481.2 KB)
When I asked women at Magdalene House what it meant to be “well,” they often started by telling me about what wellness is not. Their sense of themselves while they were on the streets— and often after they had come off—was that they had a long way to...
5. St. Benedict's Ghost: Hospitality as Community Practice
Download PDF (476.0 KB)
As described by the women of Magdalene House, the streets are a conundrum of paradoxes: time is at once nonexistent and pressing, space is always present but never available, and resources are painfully close but desperately out of reach. On the one hand,...
6. Come as You Are: Love, Forgiveness, and Belonging
Download PDF (483.4 KB)
With any illness comes not only the actual physical or mental manifestation of disease, but also the way disease is interpreted. Years of study have demonstrated that the interpretation of pain and illness is as important as the disease itself in determining how...
7. Speaking Our Truth in Love
Download PDF (476.9 KB)
Just as sharing stories is a healing practice within the Magdalene House community, sharing stories with other communities, organizations, and funders serves an important purpose as well. Spreading “the message of Magdalene” entails speaking at public events, publishing...
8. Healing Still
Download PDF (472.4 KB)
When women compare their lives before Magdalene to their lives during and after, they draw stark contrasts that indicate the powerful change in both their circumstances and their notions of self. They talk about the transitions they experienced using phrases...
Download PDF (412.6 KB)
Every year at Magdalene House’s fundraising benefit, the staff gives the Julia Basquette Award to the “volunteer of the year.” The award is named in memory of a former Magdalene resident who left the program to care for her ailing mother, relapsed, and returned...
Download PDF (418.0 KB)
Download PDF (479.5 KB)
Download PDF (417.5 KB)
Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2012