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SNAKE OIL by Becca Stevens


The Art of Healing and Truth-Telling

by Becca Stevens

Pub Date: March 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4555-1906-4
Publisher: Jericho Books/Hachette

A memoir of hands-on healing.

Concerned that abused women and victims of prostitution, sex trafficking and drug addictions often have no place to turn for help, Rev. Stevens founded Magdalene and Thistle Farms, a program named by the White House as one of 2011's "15 champions of change." The author provides women with two years of "housing, food, medical and dental expenses, therapy, education and job training—all at no cost to them.” The residents have ready-made employment creating healing oils and natural body-care products that are sold across the United States. No stranger to sexual abuse herself, Stevens feels deeply that a hands-on approach is necessary to help these battered women on a lifelong journey toward recuperation. "The Magdalene homes needed to be creative, practical, and joyful," she writes. "They needed to be sanctuaries where women were absolutely safe, not just physically, but safe enough to follow their own instincts toward healing." Stories of Stevens’ past and her determination to become a minister blend with stories of some of the women who have lived and thrived in the Magdalene program. The author spends considerable time analyzing the origins of the term "snake oil" and how, over time, it morphed from meaning something having healing properties to the more current connotation of something shifty or shady. But her program is anything but underhanded. Christian readers will connect with Stevens’ philosophies, and those interested in creating healing oils will find the included recipes helpful.

A simple, comforting reflection on one woman's crusade to make a difference in the world.