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Alternative Medicine

stacked rocks with words mind, body, soul

By Fr. Frank Hoare

Sukh Deo is a Hindu married to a Catholic wife. They live in an interior settlement far from town. As we chatted he told me of an incident when he was a boy. In those days there were very few doctors, transport to town was difficult and money was hard to come by. 

At that time his uncle was very tired and yawned so much that his jaws locked with his mouth wide open. He couldn’t close it. Neighbors suggested massage, herbs, the witch doctor but nothing worked.

A stranger came to the settlement and announced that he could cure the uncle if the family would do whatever he told them. They agreed.

The next morning he had a very hot fire kindled beside the porch of the house. He put the sick man sitting on the porch beside him. Then he began to heat a branding iron in the fire taking it out occasionally to check. The lock-jawed man grew pale and tried to move back. Orders were given to hold him firmly in place. 

The stranger suddenly pulled the red-hot iron out of the fire and thrust it forward to within a few inches of the sick man’s mouth. He jumped back with all his strength and at the same time opened his mouth wider with fear. The locked jaw was freed, and he could close his mouth again. It was the talk of the settlement for months.

Columban Fr. Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.

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