Phyllis & Rachel: Thistle Farms Stories of Love & Healing
Phyllis is a candidate for Thistle Farms graduation in 2017. She is originally from Nashville, TN but, as an army child, moved around a great deal. She was introduced to abuse at an early age by seeing a close family member suffer. As a young woman, she then experienced physical and verbal abuse as well. The abuse she both suffered and witnessed led to PTSD, which led to her addiction. For 15 years Phyllis was out of her children’s lives, but they never gave up on her. She always dreamed of being a role model for her children, and now she can say that she is. Coming into the Magdalene program has given Phyllis her life back. Now, she hears, sees, and feels that people care. She believes she is a perfect example of how love heals. Phyllis now works as a skilled artisan in Thistle Farms artisan studio, and hopes to one day realize her dream of fashion modeling.
When asked what a little over a year at Thistle Farms has taught her, Rachel’s face lights up, and says, “I feel like I’m a miracle.” Out of her brokenness and struggles with self-esteem, Rachel began using drugs at the age of 13 and struggled for years to escape the cycle of substance abuse that was rooted in the habit of perpetuating her own self harm. Now, Rachel is part of the manufacturing team, and brings a beautiful smile and desire to share the love that has been extended to her as part of the circle–”Thistle Farms just gives, gives, gives love and unconditional support!”–everywhere she goes. Full of the grace she has found, Rachel is a witness to the truth that love is the most powerful force for social change.