I was raised catholic. My mother made sure I went through all the passages of Catholicism. I did the Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation. Through it all mommy being a devout GOD fearing woman made sure she took time to be in touch with her ancestors. Something she brought from Puerto Rico the same way the slaves did.
On Sundays is when she would open our casa. On those days she would always have me around to assist her. I would bear witness to something greater than what I believed in for my young age of 8. On these Sundays strangers would come to our home and mommy would help them. They would come from word of mouth. Mommy would sit with them and she would become a totally different person. Her speech, her diction, her tone was not the mommy I knew. I was mesmerized. Whether it was advice or massages or some concoction made from herbs mommy made sure I was present. Mommy’s specialty was children. Parents came with their newborns that had some ailments. The parents explaining to mommy that doctors couldn’t cure or the ultimatum was unacceptable. What always amazed me was before these guests came mommy would go through the ritual of waking at the frack of dawn. She’d be cleaning and singing and dancing and praying. It would end off with her talking to me of people that had yet to appear at our door. She would tell me what to get so as to be ready when they arrive. I can say that I have seen some real incredible stuff. This little lady no taller than 5’1 called mommy healed. Regardless what her week was or how she was living those Sunday’s were to heal others. She never charged either. She asked for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread but never money.
It was during these Sundays that I learned charity and hope. I learned that there was more that I can’t see then I do see. It was these Sundays that I learned our family history-we were curanderos. That from La Isla, in my blood flowed a family history. That there were cures from the simple cold to arthritis to respiratory conditions that can be cured with a candle, holy water, prayers , laying of hands and a lot of faith mixed with herbs and teas. Mommy eventually stopped when I got into my early teens not before I was taught and told about the family tree. How it came to be that I at one point will also be a curandero, un brujo.