Vaca’s Adventures – a review of the most memorable parts

English: Lesson 5

The most memorable story or description in the memoir “Vaca’s Adventures”

There is no doubt that Vaca’s Adventures is a magnificent survival story, full of great losses and tragedies, and the abilities of four men who overcame them all.  But what struck me most throughout this memoir was Vaca’s ability to heal the Indians from tribes all over the country, and his faith in God to do so.  Vaca himself states that he scoffed at the Indians for wanting to make physicians out of him and his three companions.  He was only a soldier and knew that they were not qualified and lacked diplomas.  Yet, somehow the Indians recognised their ability and begged them to heal the sick.  Vaca relented but did not agree to their methods.  While the Indians continued their traditional methods of healing, Vaca and his companions healed by blessing the sick, breathing upon them, reciting a Pater noster and Ave Maria, and then praying to the Lord for their recovery.   Miraculously, all whom they blessed were healed, and Vaca and his companions became respected and well known throughout all the tribes in the country.  The Indians upon hearing of Vaca started bringing their families and children to be touched and blessed by him.  This is very similar to the story in the Bible where the children come to Jesus to be blessed in Mark chapter 10.  What is so remarkable is that the Indians recognised that Vaca and his companions were blessed with the ability to heal, not like a humble medicine-man, but from a higher authority, God.  Vaca continually attributes all his successes to God, for without some divine intervention he would have surly perished on the sea, from hunger, or killed by Indians.  God does wonders through people and Vaca is proof of that. 

Vaca and his companions continued to heal the sick wherever they went, and the Indians followed them.  Vaca’s two companions, Dorantes and his Negro (this is how he is referred and his name is not mentioned in the book) , were timid when attempting to heal great afflictions or injuries but Vaca was the boldest and did not hesitate to cure anyone who came to him.  This leads to my favourite and most memorable part of the story: 

Vaca was brought a man who had been shot through the shoulder by an arrowhead and it had lodged above his heart.  The man told him that is was very painful and kept him sick and asked that Vaca remove it.  This is unlike anything Vaca has attempted.  He writes about people coming with headaches, cramps, or small wounds.  One man who was thought to be dead was blessed and became well.  Vaca was just a soldier, he had never been trained in medicine, but he had strong faith in God that those he blessed would be healed.  Now he was going to attempt surgery on the chest of a man.  Vaca explains how he probed the wound with a flint knife and opened the man’s chest till he saw the large arrowhead.  Carefully he extracted the arrow and closed the wound with two stitches.  It is a miracle that the man did not die of blood loss and that the wound was able to be sealed with only two stitches, but what is even more incredible is that the next day Vaca cut the two stitches and all that was left of the wound was a small crease like that in the palm of your hand.  The man said he felt no pain or sensitivity and the whole tribe rejoiced. 

The faith and trust that Vaca had in God is like no other.  He was able to cure all that came to him and gained the trust of the Indians, which is what ultimately kept him and his three companions alive.  This memoir is a true testament that God works through those who have faith, and is what makes this story so unforgettable.

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