After a drive of several miles from the nearest town, Curitiba (in Southern Brasil), we arrived in a field at the end of a dusty track. It was early morning, still dark. In the corner of the field was a building that looked like an abandoned workshop except for a sign, Hopital de Senhor (Hospital of the Lord). There was a lengthy queue outside. I had been to healers before, but nothing had prepared me for what was about to unfold.
Cars queuing for the Hopital do Senhor, 6.30am
In the entrance was an assortment of typical Catholic symbols – pictures of nuns, crucifixes and so on, and a poster showing a familiar representation of Yeshua of Nazareth as a fair, shaven, smooth-skinned man with long, straight hair. There were also pictures and a statue of his mother Maryam similar to the one displayed at Lourdes.
The hospital is run by a former nun who, I was told, had been thrown out of the convent for practising clairvoyance and the healing arts. She was said to incorporate powerful healing entities and work with them to diagnose health complaints and perform spiritual surgery at a distance.
I wondered why the convent had considered her to be such a threat. According to the Bible, believed by many to be the undisputed ‘word of G_d’, Yeshua told his followers that they could do all that he did and sent them forth to heal. But the mainstream church has always frowned on spiritual healing as the work of the devil, unless performed under its direct supervision (e.g.by a priest).
A receptionist took our names to add to a list for receiving constant blessings, and a small financial contribution (R$15, around £5). She gave each of us a number and we sat down on the well used plastic chairs to await our turn. To one side was a tiny chapel. We didn’t have to wait long before being shown into the consulting room. There were no decorations other than several pictures of nuns, bare walls and ceiling, a bare floor and a simple raised seat in the centre of the room with a note in Portuguese not to sit on it.
We were greeted by a small, slim woman, not young, with grey hair cut simply, dressed in a plain blue nun’s dress with a crucifix around her neck. She smiled warmly, her eyes shining with delight to see us, as if we were the first people she had seen that day.
The Hopital do Senhor
First she took my wife’s hand. She had been having pains in her left knee and ankle for several months, with restricted movement in both joints, and frequent cramp in the calf muscle. The nun asked if she had a pain in her back: the answer was yes. The nun said all the tendons and muscles were out of balance, but that these problems would be gone in three days. She would operate on the leg and spine that night.
Then holding both our hands, she asked us about our life and future plans. We told her we were planning to move from England to Brasil, possibly to the north-east, the rapidly developing sun-drenched area just south of the equator which unlimited opportunities. ‘Ah, you want to get your feet in the water!’ she laughed. ‘But I don’t see you in these places, ‘I see you on the beaches of Parana, Guaratuba or Pontal do Sul.’ (We had already made plans to spend the next few days there.)
She turned to me. With my wife as interpreter she asked, ‘What does he do?’ she asked.
‘He’s an author. He writes books and articles on psychology, health and spirituality. He’s currently writing a book on religion that’s going to shake people, because he’s telling the truth.’
Her face lit up. ‘We need people like him because the books we have here don’t describe the spiritual world as we know it (she constantly referred to ‘we’). It’s totally different to what they describe in books here.’
‘At last someone has appeared to do this. We need someone to tell the truth – we have very few books that do. He will have great success. Do you want to ask me a question?’
I told her that in the late 80s I had had a bang on the head which resulted in severe headaches and pains around the eyes on an almost daily basis. Without my guidance she put her hand on the exact spot. ‘Don’t worry, we will take this away. The eyes are sore because of the headaches. When the pain in the head disappears, the pains around the eyes will go too.’
Then she said she would do the surgery that night. We should wear white and place a glass of water next to the bed. No fixed time was specified – they would come when we were ready. In the morning we must drink the water. Then we must avoid cold (refrigerated) food and drinks for three days.
Holding both our hands, she blessed us. We thanked her. On the way back to our apartment we stopped at a hypermarket to buy some plain white T shirts.
Later that night we did exactly as she said. Unusually for me I dropped off almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and slept most of the night. In the morning we drank the water.
On the first day, for the first time in weeks, my wife was able to put her foot on the floor with her full weight. By the fourth day all soreness had gone. On the fifth day she had total movement in both the knee and ankle and no tenderness in the calf muscle, so much so she could comfortably wear high heels.
In my case, after two days and the best nights’ sleep I could remember for many a year, the headache had abated and the pain around the eyes had lessened but remained. The third and fourth days showed another improvement, but it did not last. I booked another appointment.
We arrived at 6:30 am and were the first to be seen. The nun greeted us warmly, as before. She took my hand as I told her how I had got on the previous week. She reminded me (without prompting) to keep writing and to get my book published in Portuguese as well as English and other languages. She told me ‘they’ would repeat the treatment the following day, but don’t worry, I had had the symptoms a long time and I would need to be patient. Once again I was to wear white, avoid cold food and drinks and drink a glass of water kept overnight by the side of the bed. We left a photograph of ourselves with her so she could continue to help us once we returned to England.
Since then, my wife’s symptoms have not returned and I have noticed a steady improvement day by day. Unusually, the long flight back from Sao Paulo to England soon after barely affected me. Sceptical? Perhaps I was once, but no longer. Placebo? There’s an element of this in every cure, but in my experience with spiritual healing neither belief in the process nor in the healer is necessary for positive results to be achieved.
I often think of the line of cars outside the Hopital de Senhor before sunrise drawn by the nun’s reputation for effective healing. Surely all these people cannot be wrong? No harmful drugs, no blades, stitches, lasers, antibiotics or radioactive devices – isn’t this everyone’s dream?
©David Lawrence Preston, 2015
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