Fatima - Curing Body and Soul

Health of Body and Soul is not a Clinic or a Pilgrimage, but a way of life


Today, October 26, 2003 I will be 65 years old.  The Nuns at Coimbra Convent are having a Mass said for my birthday, so I will be off to Coimbra at 6:30 AM.  When I was offered an opportunity to retire early three years ago and come to Fatima, I felt that I had no other options.  I had developed severe back problems (two disintegrated discs).  I also developed severe prostrate problems that took me to the bathroom every 15 minutes.  These two new problems along with three pins in my right shoulder left me with no options except to retire. 


My responsibility as a father and grandfather seemed to have gotten to an end.  I was faced with being unable to help my family morally or financially anymore.  If I stayed in the United States I would become a burden on my children and a father-in-law instead of a father.  The best thing I could do for my children and grandchildren is not to be a burden on them.  I could only do this outside the United States and that became Fatima.  All I can do for them, I do by posting moral teachings on my web site, and information on my life here. 


There were times in the United States that work did not let me go to Mass everyday, but here in Fatima I have not missed 5 days in three years and those were always for charity reasons.  Our Lady hears the names of my children and my grandchildren everyday as I place them on the altar of the apparitions at every Mass.   I have made up two of those Missed Masses  by going to Mass twice in one day.  Two hours of Church a day and visits to the nuns of Coimbra have done a lot for my soul.  But Fatima has also helped me physically also.


Curing the Body


In my first year in Fatima I was on crutches 5 times with my back going out of place 5 inches, meaning that my shoulders would be 5 inches off from my hips.  My Doctor told me that sooner or later I would have to have surgery and fuse three discs together.  My prostrate problems were so bad that I could not attend a complete Mass without going to the bathroom before, during the sermon, and quickly after Mass.  Facing the option of two surgeries, I opted to see what I could do on my own.  I knew that when I ate my prostrate was worse and therefore if I took off weight from the stomach, my prostrate problems might be less.  I also knew that if I built up my back and stomach I could take some pressure off the bones of the back.  For the first time in my life on a consistent basic I joined a gym.  Like Church I went everyday for two hours a day.  At first there were many things I could not do because of the pins in my shoulder and my back problems.  But little by little and day by day I was able to develop a program that fit what I could do.  Eventually even those things that I could not do became part of my programs. 


Only once in the two years I have spent in the gyms did my back go out and this was because of a trip to the Convent in Coimbra in someone else's car where the seats were very low.  It took three days of work in the gym to put it straight but I did it on my own.  By taking 5 inches off my waist and dropping my body fat from 21% to 7% I have almost cured the prostrate problem.  Still have some problems at night after I eat but in the daytime I can go to coffee, to Church and to the gym and then home without a problem, this is over 6 hours. 


Of course working on making a strong stomach and a strong back also increases the strength in all the rest of the body.  Today I can lift my own weight (180 lbs) in every exercise and every peace of equipment.  In two years I have only gone from 191 lbs to 181 lbs, but I have also increased the size and weight of my back arms and legs by a great deal.  In other words I have moved fat to muscle.


Korpo Sano Health Club has asked me to go to the conference of Health Gyms in Lisbon where you show off the progress of your programs and help to teach other gyms ways to improve their instructions and promotions.  At 65 I am in better visual shape than I was at 18 years of age, and at least in the people I have seen in better shape than anyone in the gym including those who teach and instruct.   I still stay away from hard running because of my back but I can lift more weight now than I could at 18 and I have added two inches to my upper and lower arms.  I can see (for the first time in my life) the six muscles in my stomach and for the first time in 10 years do anything I want with my broken shoulder.  They asked me what I would say about the success I have had at such an old age.  My answer was simple.  You cannot expect to loose weight in any crash program because when it is over you will just gain it back.  You cannot make a promise to say a Rosary during the month of October and then forget it the rest of the year and expect any spiritual progress.  In the mind or the body you must make life long decisions that you will do each and everyday for the rest of your life otherwise nothing will work.  Throughout my life I have made vows to myself but always vows that would become a way of life and not something temporary.  Always in the first weeks it is hard because any change in life is hard but in time it becomes so much of what you are that you would never think of stopping.  I am that way now about Mass, the Rosary, and the gym.  The rest of my days are spent trying to bring people to the Body of Christ, by emails, the web or face to face.


Vanity or Necessity


 All this may be vanity but it also may be what men should be doing.  In my case I have no other option but to continue as long as this body will hold up.  Is it not true that we should be the best that we can be in every aspect of our lives?  God made us perfect and the imperfections we have are our own making.  I sit at a computer 8 hours a day, and without the gym what would this 65 year old man be like today.  Most likely in a wheelchair and fatter than when I came to Fatima.  But even if this was not a medical necessity in my case, now that I have made it a way of life, I reflect on myself and others.  Are we not called to defend the faith, our families and even our nation, when in danger?  Most of the time this calls for us being ready with a good education in the teachings of God and His Church, but sometimes (as is seen throughout history) it calls for physical defense.  Should we not be ready body and soul to defend our love of family and Church.  Almost never is there a moral justification for being fat and all doctors say that exercise is most important to health.  Exercise improves the thinking power,  as it pumps oxygen into the brain.


I had some pictures taken for an advertisement for Korpo Sano Health Club in Fatima, but decided not to include these in this newsletter as that would be vanity.


        Rick Salbato

     Today 65 Tomorrow 59 Next year 49