Magdalene, Inc.

A healing community in Nashville
Gwen opens the circle session at nine a.m. on a Monday morning with a reading from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Blue Book. The theme is powerlessness, and Gwen reads in a halting voice. Her audience is a group of women who’ve come to work here in an old parsonage just up the hill from a well-heeled Episcopal church. In contrast to the church’s imposing white-bricked structure, their small building has a battered front door, few furnishings and shabbily framed calligraphy that advises: “Live and Let Live,” “Easy Does It” and “But for the Grace of God.”

Many of the women paused on the porch for a cigarette before they came inside. They look tired, as if getting up on this Monday and getting to work took some courage. One woman says to no one in particular, “I almost didn’t come today. I almost took a personal day so I could stay in bed.”


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.