"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless."Gilbert K. Chesterton
It's taken me a bit of pluck to post this entry as the subject is very questionable. I have a little confession to make... my trips to Brazil weren't all just for fun; I also went to see a spiritual healer. Yes I'm serious, it's true (I know what your thinking; 'Say what??!'). Believe you me, this is the most 'far out' thing I've ever done! However, stay with me I'll try to explain best I can, it's not as freaky as you might first think... maybe it is... I don't know, but I did it!
Only in Brazil; Butterflies sit on One's hand
"I do not cure anybody. God heals, and in his infinite goodness permits the Entities to heal and console my brothers. I am merely an instrument in God’s divine hands.” – John of God.Deep in the heart of Brazil is a tiny town call Abadiania. There is a man; Joao de Deus, or John of God, allegedly works through the gift God gave him when he was 8 years old (I believe? but don't quote me on that!). He is from a poor farming background and only has third grade education. No medical training. Saint Rita and Saint Ignatius are said to have appeared to him explaining his God given gift of healing. Ever since people from all round Brazil and now the world go to see him when all types of medicine have failed them. A last ditch effort if you will, to survive the odds... Joao does not claim to cure, "only God does that", he makes no false claims. His treatment at Casa De Dom Inacio is free. You are asked to donate $5.00US for 'the medicine' he prescribes for you (which is a series of traditional herbs) but if you can't afford it, you'll still receive them, no worries. There is also special holy water you need to drink, which is also free. If you google Joao, you'll get the sceptic's guide to it all, the good the bad and the ugly. That's fine, I'm not sure of it all either, but I know what happened to me! (Please Note: I was never told to stop my medicines, ever! and I didn't... my not having a nebs in Brazil was because the power adaptor wasn't generating strong enough power to make my nebulizer work there)
At this point I need to add, there are a lot of really odd people attracted to this place because they've named Joao as a "medium" which is actually incorrect. Joao is Catholic, therefore the Catholic name for him would be 'mystic'. His gift comes from Catholic origins, not New Age or other religions. They try to 'cash in' on his gift by offering you their gift! I was like Gene Symons,"no no no no.. no". One man said I was an great ' African warrior queen' in my past life... "huh? actually I don't remember that, so umm, I need to go...away". I had to block the other stuff and focus on the core of what was happening. As a Catholic I do not believe in past lives or New Age beliefs, no disrespect intended. We can disagree, but no need to be disagreeable!
How Joao's healing gift works is beyond difficult to explain, or even believe!! I found it extremely difficult to rationalise, but now I kind of get it. Joao arrives at the casa surrounded by his assistants. He comes to the front the very large open room (hard to describe it, like an open hall). The space is always packed full of people, hundreds, sometimes thousands. It falls silent with one look around from Joao. We are asked to join Him in prayer; an Our Father and Hail Mary, Glory Be. Suddenly Joao's whole body moves like something has come over him and his head is down shut eyes then up he looks. Completely different countenance, appears to be a different person. This is the moment the "entities", otherwise knows as The Holy Doctors of Brazil take over his body for the following hours. Different doctors come different days, and on the feast of Saint Ignatius, the great saint himself is said to come. After they leave, Joao remembers nothing.
In His own words....
He (or the "holy doctor's") performs "visible" operations or "invisible" operations, your choice. He is said to have xray vision at these times and sometimes they even blind fold him during the operations to prove it's not Joao doing the work. I saw people being opened up and Joao's hand moving under their skin, no anaesthetic, hardly any blood, stitches them back up with invisible stitches (no needle or thread!) painless. No bodies wounds get infected. Tumours being removed, cataract's and who know what else he was pulling out of some?! But I can say for sure it was coming out of the people not "chicken livers" as some reporters have said. One girl was paralysed, could only move her eyes, she was walking within weeks, a bit awkward, but still walking! It was confronting to say the least, hence my choice of "invisible", It was so confronting that I was not totally convinced it was safe and wasn't prepared to take the risk.
I lined up to go into the "operation room". I was told to place my hands upon the organs that I thought needed help. I crossed my arms over my chest. I was to shut my eyes and pray. There were about 30 others in the room too. Suddenly I felt myself being leaned forward, felt like someone was supporting my face, I felt a sharp pressure across my back, near my spine. No body had touched me, it was one of the doctors. Then tears, tears, tears. I was not particularly upset, just quiet tears, but I couldn't stop them. I have no idea why! Perhaps shock that I felt something. I honestly didn't expect anything. Afterwards the "patients" are to go and have a special soup (also free). It was kind of like Brazillian minestrone, it was actually really good! I ate up and went back to my pousada to rest. Later that day, I felt a bit of pain when I moved, I turned and looked in the mirror. There was a very dark purple bruise, right across where I felt the sharp pressure. About 4 inches long, directly behind where my pancreas sits. I ran out and showed everyone, they simply couldn't believe it. The western travellers come in spite of what we think is true, perhaps there is something here(?) deep down there's a lot of doubt, but when you see and experience things like that, it put a whole new light on things.
Pictured with Joao ... clearly my hair dryer didn't work with the power adaptor either!
(Very bad hair day!!)
I felt a bit like the New Yorker native and traveller, Antony Bourdain trying to relate to something I'm totally unconvinced about. Sceptical and dare I say cynical? It all seemed totally 'wack' to our hedonistic western minds, but I cannot deny what happened to me. I also can't explain it. At worst it's balloni, cost me $5 bucks... but the soup was good!
At best, perhaps Joao de Deus helped. Perhaps God has used it to deepen my trust in him or Faith to simply believe in something bigger then this life? I witnessed so many people with belief that it was heartening to see. They were happy, I was happy! Met and made some lovely friends. No regrets at all, I am very thankful for the journey, have total respect Joao and the work he does. I will return some day. Can't say I haven't tried everything to kick CF to the curb!
This is Oprah's documentary about Joao De Deus:
Home again. Ultra sound to check if anything thing had actually happened. My doctor at the time gasped, I had no Pancreatic Cysts ... To this day I have no diabetes's, I previously did have blood sugar problems. My father and sister have it. I'm just saying... can you deal with that???? I'm not even sure if I can!
Blows my mind....