by Pamela Ann Davis

A Novel and Screenplay for a Feature Film
Inspired by True Events


Teresa Urrea, once known throughout Mexico and beyond as “La Santa de Cabora” (The Saint of Cabora), lived from 1873 to 1906. By her late teens her reputation as a healer and miracle worker had brought her international renown. This was no pale and delicate saint but rather a wild, gutsy, joyous, brave and profoundly gifted native girl—half Spanish, half Indian—who nearly toppled the brutal regime of Porfirio Diaz, Mexico’s most infamous dictator.

Journey to Cabora is inspired by true events in her amazing life.

Short synopsis:

In the early summer of 1892, Ray Williams, a journalist, is sent by the editor of his Tucson, Arizona newspaper to Sonora, Mexico to do a story based on his investigation of the far flung reports by American travelers and others that a mere girl of eighteen named Teresa Urrea is performing astonishing healings and working miracles. He is his editor’s choice because he is half Mexican and half Anglo, bi-lingual, and, most importantly, he is not religious and can therefore be "objective."

Ray is, in fact, an embittered alcoholic carrying the burden of a tragic personal loss for which he blames himself and a God he no longer believes in. He is in no mood for an arduous journey to investigate an obvious fraud, but he is over-ruled, and, in a cynical, negative mood, he undertakes the journey to Cabora with a particular agenda of his own: to gather as much damning evidence as possible prior to meeting Teresita so that he can ultimately expose her for the deceiver and trickster he is sure she must be. Thus, he is set up not only for a radical epiphany but a dangerous adventure he could never have anticipated. Events do not unfold as planned, and he must reframe his life when Teresa’s miracles dismantle his world view.

Set against the backdrop of the terror, corruption, and bloodshed of Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship, Journey to Cabora is an exciting and inspiring adventure full of action, romance, mystery, and pathos. Most especially, it is a timely story evolving amidst issues very similar to those that find their way into our current headlines and political dialogue even now more than a hundred years later. Every human life is meant to be a journey of transformation, a journey from darkness into light. Journey to Cabora is the story of one such quest.

Author’s note: Teresita, the magic and fascination for me

When I was 13 years old, after years of mysterious illness, my life was saved by a humble, hands-on healer, and a year later I went with my family to live for some time in Mexico City where I attended school and became bi-lingual. Through the spell-binding stories of our Indian housekeeper and our extensive travels throughout Mexico, I became acquainted with the mysticism and folklore of the native Mexican peoples as well as Mexican Catholic traditions. I graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Spanish, and years later when I came to hear of the remarkable story of Teresita Urrea, I realized that there was more to my intimate immersion in some rather unconventional aspects of Mexican life than I could have ever anticipated. And when I decided that Teresita’s story had to be told in a way that it never had been before, I began to encounter dozens of people of Mexican heritage who remembered her and whose older family members had known her and even been healed by her, perhaps in much the same way as I had been healed. Through this adventure of discovery she has become a part of my heart.