Talitha Koum resident guided to the Church after years of drug abuse and crime
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
In 2008 Tsara Davis sat in her jail cell in despair. She had been arrested after committing a number of crimes and abusing drugs. She prayed to God for help and He answered.
"I had three epiphanies," Davis said. "I wasn't trying to obtain drugs, I wasn't worried if my stuff was going to be stolen, and I wasn't thinking about my next crime."
Davis also learned about Talitha Koum, a faith-based housing program for troubled women.
"I heard that in six months my mind would be retrained and I could live like a normal person and not a criminal. That was the ticket I needed."
After recovering through the program, Davis attended the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program at St. Mary's Parish and was baptized a Catholic at Easter Vigil.
Davis's journey to the Church started when she was born to drug-addicted parents in Vancouver. After only a year Davis and her brother were moved into foster care when her parents fell into deep addiction. Davis and her brother were adopted at the age of 5.
The "normal life" was short lived for Davis when her adoptive parents divorced two years later. The siblings moved with their adoptive mother to Gibsons when Davis was 7, but soon after, her adoptive mom began dating an alcoholic who abused everyone in the household.
"I grew up with all these secrets," Davis remembered. "I couldn't say anything."
The chaotic lifestyle led Davis to start abusing drugs herself. "I had the signs of addiction already."
She entered high school and gravitated towards the drug crowd. She had her first drink at the age of 13. "I remember I liked my first drink because I didn't feel anything. It was easier to go to sleep."
Her life began to spiral out of control. Davis used alcohol and drugs every day, prompting her mom to send her to a wilderness camp to clean up. The situation also gave her adoptive mother a reason to break up with the abusive boyfriend.
"When I came back from the one-month camp, we moved to a different city and the boyfriend was gone."
Davis said life was better, but she eventually found the same drug crowd and started using more. "I felt like I had no friends and was this awkward teenager."
Davis would come home drunk and would destroy the house. "My mom couldn't take it anymore," Davis recalled. "It was horrible, but I was a teen acting out."
Over the next two years Davis continued to use drugs and was kicked out of her high school at 16. At 17 a close friend passed away; this drove her deeper into substance abuse. "We binged for eight months. It was really painful to lose a close friend."
Davis's parents abandoned her by 17. She eventually ended up on the streets of Vancouver.
"When I lived on the streets people treated me horribly," Davis recalled. "I learned to live like that and I treated people horribly."
Davis bounced around the Downtown Eastside and Surrey, while in and out of jail. "I used anything I could get my hands on."
Davis knew her life was crumbling and started to pray to God. She wanted to feel something. "I eventually prayed to go to jail."
After serving time, "It was by God's hand that I ended up in Talitha Koum."
At the recovery house everyone goes to church. Davis started attending the Evangelical Cariboo Road Christian Fellowship, but was attracted to the Catholic Church while attending an Easter Vigil at St. Mary's. "I saw all the candles and it was an amazing experience."
Davis learned about St. Mary's RCIA program from a Life in the Spirit seminar. She felt the program would answer her questions about faith. "I felt like RCIA levelled me up from where recovery got me. I'm more confident and I have more hope."
She said the RCIA journey was difficult, but she received support from the RCIA sponsors and catechumens. She was baptized into the Church during the Easter vigil with Talitha Koum founder Starr Peardon as her godmother.
"When I entered the Church on Easter Vigil I had the biggest grin on my face and was so happy."