One Person's View of the Casa
it calls itself a healing centre, the Casa de Dom Inacio looks like a cross
between a clinic and a church. The "shop window" of the place, the
sensational side of it, is the demonstration of extraordinary, almost paranormal
healing phenomena where actual surgical operations are undertaken by João
without anaesthetic or proper instruments (he works as a spirit medium incorporating
what are referred to as "entities", which appear to manifest the persona
and healing abilities of particular deceased individuals). But behind this is
the belief, that is central to the work there, that you must heal the energy
(or the "soul" or the "spirit") before you can heal the
body, and that a lot of this healing work is done through meditation and prayer.
One important function of the Casa is to provide a context for intensifying
a force field of belief, of faith, and of concentration among the people there,
which magnifies the possibilities of using healing energy, whether it's "divine"
or however one describes it.
The other key thing about the Casa is the emphasis that it puts on each individual taking responsibility for his or her own healing. A favourite refrain of the spirit medium when people come and ask to be healed is "vai trabalho" which translates as "go and work". The conviction here - and the instruction - is for each individual to take responsibility for his or her own healing: and that involves work, not miracles. These were the main things that I got from being there, together with the opportunity to work in an extremely focused environment which is blessed by a feeling of optimism and faith; a belief in the possibility of healing, even in very extreme circumstances. Quite the opposite to many hospitals, which I often found to be places filled with fatalism and despair.
The Casa provided a place where I could go and spend hours and days and weeks: I was fortunate to be able to go five times during the year after being diagnosed with cancer and I spent a total of about eighteen weeks there. There was no "miracle" healing for me; I was told on my first visit that I would be healed, but could never get an answer to my questions about how, when or where this might be achieved. (Did it mean returning to London for conventional surgery? I was never told either yes or no.) Not everyone experiences things at the Casa in the same way. Some people visit only once for just a few days: a tiny minority do experience an apparently "spontaneous healing". Others stay for months and months and show no improvement.