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After experiencing sexual abuse as a child, the Reverend Becca Stevens created a nonprofit to help women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction find sanctuary and security. This is her—and their—story.

Becca Stevens calls herself a “snake oil salesman”—in a positive sense. The social enterprise she founded, Thistle Farms, provides purpose and employment to abused women, providing them with the economic well-being to begin new lives. The natural body care products that Thistle Farms manufactures—balms, soaps, and lotions, whose ingredients include essential oils—aid in the healing of the women who make them as well as that of the company’s customers.

In Snake Oil, Stevens tells how her childhood, marked by sexual abuse and her father’s tragic death, equipped her with the insight to understand other broken lives, leading her to establish the Magdalene residential community for prostitutes and, later, Thistle Farms. Wise and reflective, Snake Oil offers an empowering narrative as well as a selection of recipes for healing remedies that readers can make themselves.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Snake Oil, Becca Stevens’ profound and sensual autobiography, carries a weight of joy in every syllable. Stevens’ greatest gift—as a writer and as an Episcopal priest—is an ability to make falling in love with God an inevitable, sacred, and necessary reality.”

    Alice Randall, New York Times bestselling author of The Wind Done Gone

  • “Rich and insightful.”


  • “A simple, comforting reflection on one woman’s crusade to make a difference in the world.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “I always think of Becca Stevens as a sort of extraordinary, down-to-earth angel—conscience, guide, inspiration, and girlfriend all rolled into one. I will treasure this book.”

    Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger

  • Snake Oil is one of the best reads I have had in a very long time. Stevens is a consummate storyteller…poignant, persuasive, witty, wise, and, ultimately, a passionate lover of God.”

    Phyllis Tickle, lecturer on religion in America and author of Emergence Christianity

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About the Author

Reverend Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest serving as chaplain at St. Augustine’s at Vanderbilt University and founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, a community and social enterprise that stands with women recovering from violence, prostitution, addiction, and life on the streets. Magdalene, the residential model, serves women for two years at no cost to residents. Thistle Farms employs residents and graduates who manufacture, market, and sell all-natural bath and beauty products in over 200 retail stores across the globe. In 2011 Stevens was named one of 15 “Champions of Change” by the White House. To date, she has raised more than $14 million for the organizations she supports. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.