Rev. Becca Stevens, 1963

  • Rev.-Becca-Stevens-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism and Religion & Ethnic CultureWoman Tags: Nashville Women and Spiritual Leader

  • HerStory

    Episcopal priest, social entrepreneur, author, and speaker, the founder and president of Thistle Farms.

    Born in Connecticut and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, following her father’s job as an Episcopal priest. That same year, her father died in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver. Her mother worked at a daycare and had to depend on social security to support her five children. In the following years, Stevens was sexually abused by the man who replaced her father in the church.
    She chose Math as her major at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. After graduation, she participated in an internship at Bread for the World and led the youth program at the Kanuga Conference Center of the Episcopal church. At 24, she began her path to become a reverend, enrolling in Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she met her husband, Marcus Hummon. During that time, she volunteered in non-profit organizations, helping homeless women and women who struggle with addictions. After her ordination, she continued to help those in need while working at the Church of the Resurrection in Franklin, Tennessee. At the age of 32, she was appointed as the Chaplain of St. Augustine’s Chapel.
    In 1997, Stevens founded a residential program, originally called Magdalene, to provide two years of free housing to women survivors of prostitution, trafficking, and addiction, giving them a chance to rebuild and restart their lives in a community. In 2001, she added the social enterprise arm of the organization, now called Thistle Farms, to employ and provide income to residents and graduates of the program. The organization now includes Thistle Farms Global Shared Trade, which supports 1,400 artisan survivors in 20 countries, and a national network to provide young organizations with mentoring and resources.

    “You don’t have to change me. I don’t have to agree with you. All we have to do is figure out how to love each other and work together to help people”

    “You don’t have to change me. I don’t have to agree with you. All we have to do is figure out how to love each other and work together to help people”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She is a writer, published so far 10 books, including a memoir in which she details her own experience with sexual abuse and the healing process she went through.
    • Entrepreneurship characterized her from an early age, as a creative kid who also looked for ways to make money.
    • Her husband, Marcus Hummon, is a Grammy-winning songwriter; they have three sons.
    • Becca heads outdoors almost daily to the Tennessee woods, or wherever she finds herself, to hike, meditate, and write.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Books she wrote


    * Inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame
    * Was designated a White House Champion of Change (2011)
    * Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America
    * Named a CNN Top Hero of the Year (2016)
    * Two honorary doctorates

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • How this Nashville women’s recovery home blends business with bonding

    Nashville’s Thistle Farms is no ordinary business -- it’s a nonprofit staffed by women who have survived addiction, sexual abuse or trafficking. The organization’s two-year program offers participants housing, free therapy and medical care, as well as opportunities to work on its line of home and body products or in its adjoining cafe. John Yang reports on this sisterhood-based community.

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  • Stevens in 2020. Photo credit - courtesy of Collin Nixon.

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Official website.
    Wikipedia page.
    Thistle Farms website.