Nashville Priest Gets White House Honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville priest who founded a recovery program for prostitutes is being honored by the White House.
Becca Stevens founded a residential program called Magdalene in 1997.
It offers participating women free housing, food, medical and dental care, therapy, education and job training for two years, all without government funding.
Seventy percent of the women who join are clean and sober 2 1/2 years after beginning.
Stevens will be honored at a Washington ceremony on Thursday as one of 15 “Champions of Change,” according to WPLN (
The St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel chaplain says she hopes the recognition will inspire others to do similar work.
Recently, she’s met with groups interested in the Magdalene model from St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans.
Note: The White House news release is below.

From White House press office:
WASHINGTON – Tomorrow, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Valerie Jarrett will join White House Advisor on Domestic Violence, Lynn Rosenthal, to host 14 leaders at the White House who are dedicating their professional lives to ending domestic violence in their communities. At the event, participants will share their personal stories and discuss lessons they have learned while working to end domestic violence on a local level.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities. Tomorrow, the White House welcomes Becca Stevens to participate in a roundtable discussion to raise awareness for domestic violence. To watch this event live, visit at 1:00 pm ET tomorrow.
Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, speaker and author of eight books. Becca serves as chaplain of St. Augustine’s at Vanderbilt University, is the founder of Magdalene, a residential community for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction and Executive Director of its social enterprise, Thistle Farms. To date, Becca has raised over $13 million and gained nationwide press coverage for the organizations she supports. In addition to having received awards from the Frist Foundation and the Academy of Women in Achievement, Becca was named “Nashvillian of the Year” and “Tennessean of the Year” by the Nashville Scene and The Tennessean respectively. In 2010, Becca became the youngest and first female recipient of the University of the South’s “Distinguished Alumnus” award. An acclaimed speaker and author, her latest is a 3-book series, The Path of Peace, Justice and Love. Becca lives in Nashville with her husband and their three sons. Her blog is available at

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