From Texas to Tennessee: Jovita's Road to Healing

by Melanie Reitz May 31, 2016

“When I looked at the faces of my family members in the crowd, I knew they were proud because I had finally finished something. My graduation day was healing for the whole family.” – Jovita, 2016 Graduate, Survivor-leader

Jovita was always starting something new—a new business, a new relationship, finding a new home—only to have each venture snatched away by her addiction. Just over two years ago, while struggling to begin a healing oil business, Jovita found Thistle Farms. She knew she had to leave Texas and seek healing in this Nashville community where women were both recovering and working with soothing, natural products; the serendipity was just too strong. Though joining Thistle Farms residential program would take Jovita away for at least two years, her family supported her from day one. “When I surrendered myself to recovery, I was able to expose my illness to my family,” Jovita recalls. She no longer thought of herself as someone who didn’t have the strength to finish what she began, but rather was able to recognize the power that her addiction had held for far too long.

In the past two years Jovita has acquired another family—one with 50+ “sisters for life,” not to mention staff, volunteers, and Nashville community members—that has watched her face every challenge with grace as she became an integral member of the Thistle Farms Global team. On graduation day, Jovita was able to feel the love and support from both of her families as she smiled, laughed, and cried from the front of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. Though she always thought she would return to Texas after graduation, Jovita now proclaims, “I found my peace here in Nashville, and so here is where I’m going to stay.” She knows it will be difficult to remain at a distance from her mother, siblings, children, and grandchildren, but at graduation she was comforted by her children’s words. They told her, “Mom, now that we saw you at graduation, we can tell that you’re going to be fine. After seeing the support of your Nashville family, we know you’re okay.”

Jovita remains committed to the idea of holistic wellness that originally brought her to Nashville. She reflects, “There has to be something that is going to come out of this 40 year journey I’ve been on; I’m excited to be part of someone else’s journey to healing the way others have been helpful to me.” For Jovita and her family, graduation symbolizes her ability to finish what she begins; it is clear that—with the support and love of her Texas family and her Nashville community—Jovita will continue to find success in all that she sets out to accomplish.


Want to see Jovita at the 2016 Magdalene Graduation?

Watch a beautiful 2 minute video with highlights from the ceremony below!

Photos courtesy of Peggy Napier. Video courtesy of Northman Creative.


Melanie Reitz
Melanie Reitz

Also in Community Blog

Meet Ericka: Professional, Board Member, Thistle Farms Graduate

by Melanie Reitz November 10, 2016

A 2003 Thistle Farms graduate, and now member of Thistle Farms’ Board of Directors, Ericka Monroe has a clear message for women coming into Thistle Farms: You can do it. In 2001, this is the message she received from Becca Stevens, and it has guided her ever since.  Ericka came to the program having spent four years on the streets. She was sure she wouldn’t stay, but, as she got to know the women around her, she realized there was something different here.

Read More
From the Streets to Accounts Manager: Chelle is Living Proof

by Melanie Reitz October 12, 2016

The growth Thistle Farms has enjoyed in the last several years has kept Chelle Waller, survivor-leader and Accounts Manager, very busy. As a 2005 graduate, Chelle has seen a great deal of change since she first began. “At one time, we were only about 5 women working here, just at one little table,” Chelle recalls. Now, Chelle manages the accounts payable process for a company with a $4 million budget.
Read More
We Are Not Alone: A Blog from Becca

by Becca Stevens September 19, 2016

On Thistle Farm's third trip to visit the Ikirezi community, Nicholas told me that our ecommerce partnership was important, not just because of the added economic value, but because it was a reminder that he wasn’t alone in this work. What he meant was that despite the overwhelming obstacles one faces in justice work out in the fields, we can overcome our times of loneliness and heartbreak if we work together.
Read More