St. Landry

Nov 17, 2011 6:46 PM by Maddie Garrett

One of the Last Traiteurs Keeps Tradition Alive

Alternative medicine is a growing trend, but some in Acadiana have been practicing it for decades with a strong base in the Catholic faith. Traiteurs date back hundreds of years, but it's a dying tradition. Prescilla Darby is one of them, trying to keep the faith alive one patient at a time.

Sitting in her living room, Darby recites prayers in French, the Native American language and English, all while using her hands and what she calls a divine gift to heal people of common ailments.

"It's a gift given to you by Him up above and it's to try to help someone," she said.

Darby is a Traiteur, or Cajun Healer; a tradition that derives from the Creoles and the Houma Tribe in Colonial times.

"I'm using my hands with water on and I go up. So to me that meant you want it to come out, like you want it to come out here, through your fingers or your toes or whatever," explained Darby.

There aren't many Traiteurs left in South Louisiana. Prescilla said a man passed down the healing prayers to her almost 50 years ago. She in turn passes them along to other men, going with tradition that it must be passed to the opposite gender.

"But really and truly we can't let this go, this has to keep on going," she said.

So Darby tries to keep the faith healing alive. She even treats people over the phone, looking to a picture of Jesus for strength and the power to heal all the while.

"A phone is a connection and it works on the phone," said Darby.

She has no doubts the prayers work. Darby can recount dozens of stories of babies to adults who benefited from her healing words and touch. She said she's even healed animals. Once, it was a bull that was bleeding to death with a broken horn.

"And I treated the bull. And then I told him to take the horn and put it right on top where it was, and plaster it down, around and hold it down. And the bull lived," remembered Darby.

Though her faith is strong, Darby said this is no replacement for medical treatment.

"It's an addition... When you have something wrong with you, you go to the doctor. But some people think that it can just be done by coming here and I just make it known to them it's really, sometimes it's ok, but not all the time," said Darby.

Darby practices out of her home in Arnaudville and can be reached at (337) 754 7226.

She said she doesn't accept money, but when someone insists she uses it to buy candles to burn at her church.

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