Traiteurs and Mysterious Occurrences
Sep 17, 2013 | 1787 views | 0 0 comments | 174 174 recommendations | email to a friend | print
William Thibodeaux
William Thibodeaux
By William Thibodeaux, History columnist

The tradition of faith-healing has been passed down through the ages from male to female or vice-versa.

Years ago nearly every community had several traiteurs or faith-healers. Unfortunately, time is slowly casting its long shadow on the traiteurs that were held in high esteem in every community. At a recent French table gathering at the Bernard-Bertrand House in Rayne, Gercie Daigle of Church Point spoke about traiteurs of long ago. Her grandmother, Maurelia (Bellard) Bergeron, was a traiteur and resided in the all but forgotten hamlet of Pointe Noir in northern Acadia Parish near Church Point. Gercie Daigle was raised by her grandmother and remembers the multitude of people that lined the walls of their home.

“Every Sunday morning my grandmother’s living room looked like a doctor’s waiting room,” said Gercie Daigle. “A crowd of people came from all over to be treated.” They were mostly country folk and more than a few were quite capable of paying the price of a doctor visit. However, they elected to see the elderly woman instead. Although Gercie Daigle lived with her grandmother and witnessed firsthand the horde of people being treated, she didn’t believe in traiteurs, much to her grandmother’s dismay.

Gercie Daigle informed the group about an incident that took place many years ago when one of her sons as an infant had “straining colic.” The tiny baby constantly made an audible straining sound. Mrs. Daigle’s grandmother, the traiteur asked if she would allow her to treat the infant. The answer was an emphatic no! Nevertheless, Gercie Daigle took her baby to a Catholic Church where the local priest said prayers over the infant and tied a blue and white “cordon” around the infant’s mid-section. The priest instructed Mrs. Daigle to leave the cord containing five knots on her baby until the infant had five teeth. When she left the church, Mrs. Daigle noticed that the baby had immediately stopped the audible straining and for the first time, the infant slept peacefully throughout the night. It was also the last of the infant’s colic. Was it coincidental or something else?

Patrick “Pat” Daigle from Pointe Noir, one of our newest members to the Rayne French table group, talked about a traiteur that treated him well over a decade ago for “resipere.” At the time, Pat had twisted his ankle. Fortunately, it wasn’t broken, just badly sprained and discolored. After telling his friend, Roy Bergeron, from Church Point about the inflammation and discoloration, Bergeron who happened to be a traiteur, treated his leg. Pat Daigle’s leg was so swollen the hair on his leg fell off. He hobbled very gingerly with his crutches when he arrived for the first session at Bergeron’s home. Minutes later when Pat Daigle’s session was finished, he walked out carrying the crutches over his shoulder. After three sessions (morning, noon and night) over a three day period, his leg was like new-- all discoloration and swelling was no longer visible. Was it coincidental or was it something else?

Pat Daigle is also a faith-healer. His gift as a traiteur was acquired from three separate traiteurs over a period of several years. He said traiteurs treat by using Catholic prayers, never by sacrificing or harming animals. And he said a traiteur will never charge for their services. If you go to one, never say thank you after being treated.

There are strange and mysterious occurrences that have occurred… like when 88-year-old Vernice “Bonàrien” Hargrave of Crowley was a young man working in the rice fields near Lyons Point. According to Bonàrien, he and his father were talking with an elderly gentleman named Guillot, who wasn’t a traiteur but possessed a very mysterious ability. While talking with Guillot they noticed a snake slithering nearby. Guillot informed the Hargraves that he was going to put the snake to sleep simply by pointing a finger at the snake. “Sure as shooting, the snake immediately curled into a tight circle,” said Bonàrien. Guillot invited Bonàrien to come the following morning and see if the snake was still there. According to Bonàrien, the snake was there and stayed in a curled position until Mr. Guillot pointed a forefinger at the snake and with a slight motion of his finger; the snake quickly uncoiled and slithered away. “Indeed, the snake had stayed there all night,” said Bonàrien.
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