A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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iv               THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY            157
troversy as to which king had the greater powers. Even after their death, cures were wrought by the invocation of such saints or worthies.
Relics of saints and martyrs, pieces of ' the true Cross ', and stones which sweated blood or healing oil were used as a means of firing the imagination and thus overcoming disease. Mackay tells how pilgrims to the Holy Land sold thousands of relics on their return. If placed together, the splinters of the true Cross, which abounded in every country, would have been sufficient for many crosses. Tears of Jesus and of the Virgin and of St. Peter were hawked around, while toe-nails of the last named ' sufficient to have filled a sack ' were for sale. The blood of Jesus and of the martyrs commanded extravagant prices I55 (ii, 303 f.). These were used as charms and amulets, the Church encouraging the practice. Many of the saints had wells and fountains dedicated to them, and rites were performed there at Easter and on other feast days, when offerings were made to the patrons. In Egypt, Asia Minor, Europe and Britain, churches were built at such places and incubation practised in them. The churches of Sts. Cosmos and Damian at Constantinople were famous centres. The shrine of St. Takla Haymanot at Debra Lebanos in Abyssinia, with its holy water called Tabal, is still a national resort for those seeking health.
All over the world the name of Lourdes is a household word as a centre of spiritual healing. Its fame is entirely associated with the grotto where, in 1858, a fourteen-year-old Roman Catholic peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous experienced repeated ecstatic vision of a Lady. The first experience took place on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday at about half-past twelve, February 11, 1858. Bernadette and her younger sister were sent, with a friend named Jeanne Abadie, to gather wood.