Turning a painful past into a bright future

Magdalene Forrester, who has come to the Franciscan Center in the past for assistance, published her first book, "Faith's Final Chance."

Magdalene Forrester, who has come to the Franciscan Center in the past for assistance, published her first book, “Faith’s Final Chance.”

Walking into the Franciscan Center, Magdalene Forrester exudes positivity through her bright smile and warm demeanor. She hasn’t always been that way — Magdalene will be the first to point out — having overcome many struggles in her life including an abusive relationship, drug use, homelessness, and depression. However, without surviving the hard times, Magdalene says she would not appreciate all of the good that has since come into her life.

Magdalene shares her amazing story in her recently published book, “Faith’s Final Chance.” This compelling book is a detailed look into her most vulnerable and difficult years, and how she overcame these struggles through her faith in God.

“[Writing the book] released a lot of pressure from years of ongoing, nonstop, agonizing pain,” Magdalene said.

Magdalene always found solace in writing. As a child, she remembers being commended for her writing talents by her teachers.

“I was the type of individual who was not and could not speak well when it came to expressing my true inner feelings,” she explained, “but I did a tremendous job when it came time for me to write them down on paper.”

Over the years, she’s written countless stories and poems about her life and experiences. “Faith’s Final Chance,” published by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., is her first published work. Magdalene is confident it won’t be her last.

An open book herself, Magdalene is comfortable discussing her difficult and painful past. She lived through several years of being beaten, raped and threatened by her husband. She was surrounded by violence and drugs, but eventually found a better way of life.

“I would like people to just see who I am, what I struggle through with heartache and a long life of pain, and where I came from to where I am today,” she said. “First struggling before coming to reality within myself, and why I had to keep my faith and join a higher power to walk beside me.”

In early 2013, Magdalene found the Franciscan Center through a friend and came in for a hot meal. Shortly thereafter, she discovered that the Center could help her in other ways as well. Magdalene received groceries through the
Emergency Food Pantry, assistance with her utility bill, and help with obtaining a new Maryland identification card.

“The Franciscan Center helped me a lot,” she said. “When I’m really in need, I come for help – I don’t take advantage of it.”

Mark Wong is an Ignatian volunteer and works as an interviewer at the Franciscan Center. He met Magdalene in 2013 and was impressed by her positive attitude and writing abilities, especially since she’s had no formal training.

“She had a tough time and now seems on the right track,” Mark said.

Magdalene has also said that she plans to donate some of the royalties from her book sales back to the people and
organizations that helped her when she was in need. She also aspires to be an inspiration to other women who may find themselves in a bad situation.

“No matter what they go through in life,” Magdalene said, “as long as they believe and be strong, they can
overcome.”

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