Magdalene Founder Honored by White House

The Episcopal priest who started a recovery program in Nashville for former prostitutes is being honored Thursday by the White House. Becca Stevens founded Magdalene in 1997 and has been named one of 15 “Champions of Change.”

Magdalene is unique because it allows participants to stay two years at no charge. The women go relatively unsupervised and work in a social enterprise called Thistle Farms.

The success rate is better than most, with more than 70 percent staying clean after two years. Peggy talked to WPLN in 2008.

“At one time, I thought there was no hope for me because there ain’t no love out there in the streets.”

One former prostitute will travel to Washington with Becca Stevens to receive the honor and jokes that she’s gone from a crack house to the White House because of Magdalene. But Stevens says she hopes the recognition is just a spark.

“I keep thinking about all of the beautiful, dreamy stuff that could happen if this keeps growing and keeps moving.”

In the last few weeks, Stevens says she’s met with groups interested in the Magdalene model from St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans.

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