||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (December 2012)|
|Born||Francisco de Paula Cândido
April 2, 1910
Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais, Brazil
|Died||June 30, 2002
Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil
|Known for||Popular medium in Spiritism movement|
|Part of a series on|
Chico Xavier (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʃiku ʃɐviˈɛʁ]), born Francisco de Paula Cândido Xavier ([fɾɐ̃ˈsisku dʒi ˈpawlɐ ˈkɐ̃dʒidu], April 2, 1910 - June 30, 2002) was a very popular figure medium in Brazil's spiritism movement, writing 458 books, using a process known as "psychography".
Xavier was born in the city of Pedro Leopoldo, State of Minas Gerais and is popularly known as "Chico Xavier" (Chico is the Portuguese nickname for Francisco). Xavier called his spiritual guide Emmanuel, who according to Xavier, lived in ancient Rome as Senator Publius Lentulus, was reincarnated in Spain as Father Damian, and later as a professor at the Sorbonne.
Xavier's work produced religious teachings, novels, and works of philosophy. His books sold an estimated 50 million copies, profits of which were all channelled into charity work. In 1981 and 1982, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Xavier believed he was only a channel for the work of the spirits and that he was not able to produce any miracle such as healing people. He believed he could not contact someone that was dead, unless their spirit was willing to be contacted. His appearances on TV talk shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped to establish Kardecist Spiritism as one of the religions professed in Brazil. Xavier's popularity remained unchanged in Brazil throughout his life. Despite health problems he kept working up to his death, on June 30, 2002 in Uberaba. In 2010, a movie biography entitled Chico Xavier was released in Brazil. Directed by Daniel Filho, the film dramatized Xavier's life.
Francisco was born among a humble family. He is the son of João Cândido Xavier who was a lottery ticket vendor, and Maria João de Deus, a Catholic housewife. According to biographers, his mediunity first appeared when he was only 4 years old. His father was talking to a lady about pregnancy and he began stating facts about sciences. He claimed he could hear and see spirits. He would even talk to them.
The godmother's abuses 
His mother died when he was five years old. Unable to raise the kids on his own, his father distributed his nine children among relatives. For the two following years, Francisco was then, being raised by his godmother; an old friend of his mother, Rita de Cássia, who soon turned into a cruel person, dressing him as a girl and spanking him all the time, at first, for any little reason or no reason at all, and later; because she was convinced that the boy was possessed by the Devil.
As if beating him with a quince stick wasn't enough; Rita started to stab his abdomen with forks, and she wouldn’t allow him to remove them, causing serious suffering to the boy. The only peaceful moments he enjoyed were the ones he could speak with the spirit of his mother, whom he had been communicating since he was five years old. Time when he saw her spirit right after saying a prayer under the shadow of a banana tree in the backyard of the house he lived in; when in contact with his mother’s spirit, she would advise him about “patience, resignation and faith in Jesus".
The godmother was also raising another adopted child, Moacir, who suffered from an incurable wound on his leg. Rita decided to follow the advices of a healer, who told her about a ritual that would heal Moacir's wound, the ritual consisted of having another child licking the wound for three consecutive Fridays in fasting, such task was attributed to Francisco. Revolted with such obligation, Francisco spoke again with his mother’s spirit, who advised him to “lick the wound with patience”. The spirit explained that the healer's ritual “is not medicine, but it could diminish the godmother’s anger”, since it was clear that she could put his life in danger. The good spirits healed the wounds; and as predicted by his mother’s spirit, Rita de Cássia improved the treatment given to Francisco, after Moarcir’s leg was cured.
The stepmother 
Francisco’s father got married again, Cidália Batista the second wife, demanded that the father should gather the nine children once for all. Francisco was then, seven years old. The couple had yet, six more children. through the stepmother's persistence, Francisco was enrolled in a public school. Within this period, the spirit of his mother stopped making contact with him. Francisco, started to work very young in order to help with the expenses at home, he would sell vegetables produced at home.
At school, as well as in church, Francisco's paranormal power constantly would put him into troubles. Once, while in his fourth year of primary school, he claimed to have seen a man who had dictated all his school essays, but no one seemed to have given him any credits; and not even the teacher seemed to have cared about it. One of his memorial school compositions on the centenary of the independence of Brazil won an honorable mention in a state contest. In 1922 he faced skepticism from colleagues and friends, who accused him of plagiarism, such accusation lasted all his life. Challenged to prove his gifts, Francisco was submitted to the challenge of improvising an essay (with the help of a spirit) about sand grain, the topic was chosen at that very moment, in which, he succeeded.
Cidália, the step mother, asked Francisco to ask the spirit of his late mother about how to prevent the neighbor from stealing her vegetables, and the spirit said; put her in charge of the kitchen garden, the advice was followed and brought an end to the vanishing vegetables. Scared about the mediunity of the young boy, his father decides to hospitalize him.
Scarzelli; the Catholic priest examined him, and concluded that, hospitalizing the boy would be a mistake, since it was only “children's fantasy”. Scarzelli simply advised the family to restrict his reading (he believed they were the reason for the fantasies) and put him to work; Francisco, then, was hired to work in a textile factory, where he was submitted to rigorous discipline of extended working hours; which brought serious consequences that lasted for the rest of his life.
In 1924, he finished primary school and never went back to school. He then changed his job; he was hired as a sales clerk, but still working extended hours. Although his catholic devotion and uncountable penances, apart from all restrictions imposed by the priest he confessed with; he never stopped having visions or talking to spirits.
The contact with the spiritualist doctrine 
In 1927, Francisco was only seventeen years old when his stepmother passed away, and he saw himself into trouble having to face his sister’s insanity, which he later found out that, her insanity was caused by spiritual obsession. Instructed by a friend, Francisco started to study spiritism.
In May of the same year, he received a new message from his mother, in which, she recommended him to accomplish all his duties and thoroughly study the books of Allan Kardec; In June; Francisco strongly helped on the foundation of Centro Espírita Luiz Gonzaga, (spiritist church) in a humble wooden warehouse owned by his brother. In July, guided by one of the good spirits, he started to psychograph, writing then, seventeen pages; along the four subsequent years, he improved his practices, although; according to the book Parnaso de Além-Túmulo, his psychograhic works only became clearer towards the end of 1931.
Thereby, many dead poets began to manifest themselves through his mediunity, but they only started to identify themselves in 1931. In 1928, he had started to publish his first psychographic messages in the newspapers “O Jorna”l, from Rio de Janeiro, and Almanaque de Notícias, from Portugal.
The first works 
In 1931, In Pedro Leopoldo, (Francisco’s hometown) he started to psychograph the book Parnaso de Além-Túmulo. That year was marked by the medium’s “adulthood”, it was the year the medium met his spiritual mentor Emmanuel, “Under a tree, near a water reservoir..." (SOUTO MAIOR, 1995:31). His mentor informs him on his mission to psychograph a sequence of thirty books and the spirit explains to him that, to achieve such a task, it would be demanded three very important conditions: discipline, discipline and discipline".
Severe and demanding, the mentor instructed him to be loyal to Jesus and Kardec, even if it was against his religious basis. Later on, the medium found out that Emmanuel had been the Roman senator Publius Lentulus, further reborn as a slave who sympathized with Christianity, still in another reincarnation, had been a Jesuit priest Manuel da Nóbrega, involved with the evangelization of Brazil.
In 1932, the book Parnaso de Além-Túmulo, was then published by; Federação Espírita Brasileira (FEB). (Brazilian Spiritualist Federation) The compilation of poetry dictated by spirits of Brazilian and Portuguese poets achieved enormous impact in the Brazilian press and public opinion, and yet caused strong polemic among the ones involved with Brazilian literature, whose opinions were divided between recognition and accusations of pastiche. The impact increased even more when it was revealed that the books had been written by a “humble clerk” from a warehouse in the countryside of Minas Gerais (Brazilian state where the medium was born), who had barely finished primary school. It is said that the spirit of his mother advised him not to respond to the criticism.
The copyrights of all his books were kindly granted to FEB. At that period, he started a relationship with Manuel Quintão e Wantuil de Freitas. Still at the same period, an ocular cataract was found, problem which he had to live with for the rest of his life. The spirits and his mentors, Emmanuel e Bezerra de Menezes, instructed him to be treated with the resources of human medicine and told him not to count on any kind of privileges from the spirits.
He kept working as a clerk - typist at the model farm from the Regional Inspectorate of the Department of Livestock Development, He started to perform at Centro Espírita Luís Gonzaga (spiritualist church) in 1935, helping the ones in need with prescriptions, advices and producing psychographic books. The farm manager and agronomist Rômulo Joviano, also spiritist who attended all the seances at Centro Luiz Gonzaga, where he later became the president., besides giving Francisco a job, he also cooperated with the medium, by allowing him some free time to find the necessary peace to execute his psychographic works, It was in a period that Francisco was using the basement of Joviano’s house to perform his psychographic works, when one of his most remarkable books, titled Paulo e Estevão (Paul and Stevan) came out. At the same time; a long refusal of gifts and honors started and lasted all his life, as an example: Fred Figner granted Francisco a huge amount of money in his will; which was promptly granted to FEB; by the medium.
As well as notoriety, the criticism from people who tried to discredit him strongly persisted. Chico Xavier said that also spiritual foes tried to involve him into negative fluids and temptations, apart from all living people,. Souto Maior (Brazilian journalist) reports an attempted of "lynching by spirits", as well as an episode which naked girls tried to seduce the medium in his bathtub. Note that; in both episodes there are common narrative aspects to the so-called “proof”, commonly mentioned in stories of holiness.
Lawsuit from the widow of Humberto de Campos 
During 1930, the publishing of the romances attributed to Emmanuel and the book Brasil, Coração do Mundo, Pátria do Evangelho, attributed to the spirit of Humberto de Campos (Brazilian writer) were highlighted; in which the story of Brazil is interpreted in a mythical and theological way. As consequence; the last book mentioned here brought him a lawsuit from the widow of Humberto de Campos, who pleaded for the psychographed books copyrights, in case the legitimacy of the famous author from Maranhão (A state of Brazil) was proven.
The medium’s defense was supported by FEB, further resulting in the classic A Psicografia Perante os Tribunais, (the psychography in the view of court) written by the lawyer Miguel Timponi. along the trial; the judge decided that books copyrights refer to books recognized while the author is alive; since it would be impossible for the court to prove the existence of mediunity. Even so; in order to avoid problems in the future, the spiritual writer’s name was substituted by the nickname “Irmão Max” (Brother Max).
At that time, Francisco was hired by the federal public service, as a helper at Ministério da Agricultura (Ministry of Agriculture). It is important to highlight that; along his career as a public worker; there is no record of any absence from work.
Nosso Lar (Home) 
In 1943, one of the most popular books of the Brazilian spiritist literature was published, the romance titled Nosso Lar, the best seller and most disclosed from the medium's extensive psychographic writings; which became a movie in 2010.
This is the first book from a series whose authorship is attributed to the spirit of André Luis. During that time, the fame of Chico Xavier (Francisco’s nickname) was increasing, more and more people looked for him in search of healing and messages, transforming the small town of Pedro Leopoldo into an informal center of pilgrimage. Francisco´s former boss José Felizardo died very poor, the medium then, strived to get him a decent funeral; he went on around the town asking for donations; knocking on every one’s door to collect money for the burial. According to Francisco's biographer Ubiratan Machado, "...even a blind homeless man donated the donations he had received that day". (MACHADO, 1996:53).
The case Amauri Pena 
In 1958, the medium saw himself in the center of a very polemic case, but this time, due to the accusations coming from his nephew, Amauri Pena, son of Francisco's sister; the one who Chico cured from her obsession. The nephew himself; was psychographic medium; who announced himself to the press as a false medium, a very capable impostor, and such declaration extended to his uncle. Chico Xavier defended himself, denying any proximity or involvement with the nephew, who was alcoholic. Remorseful by the damage he caused to his uncle’s reputation asked for forgiveness, the uncle forgave him; Amauri was then hospitalized in a mental hospital in São Paulo, where he died.
Partnership with Waldo Vieira 
At that time, Chico Xavier met the young doctor and medium Waldo Vieira; together they psychographed several books; until their abruption some years later. In 1959, Francisco moved to Uberaba, where he lived until the end of his days. He continued psycho graphing several books, approaching topics that were priority in the 60’s; such as, sex, drugs, youth issues, technology, space travels among others. Uberaba then, became an informal center of pilgrimage, with thousands of people arriving every day; people hopping to make contact with deceased relatives. At that time; books of “messages” became popular; letters dictated by spirits of regular people to their family members; proceeding as well with constant campaigns of food and clothing distribution to the poor people around the town.
On May 22 of 1965; Chico Xavier and Waldo Vieira travelled to the US in order to disclose spiritism abroad; with the help of Salim Salomão Haddad, president of Christian Spirit Center, and his wife Phillis, they studied English and launched the book titled The World of The Spirits (Ideal Espírita; Portuguese version).
Interviews on the television program Pinga-Fogo 
In the beginning of 1970; Chico took part on some TV programs; making them hit high levels of audience. In the same year; besides the cataract and lungs problems, Francisco contracted angina. In 1975 he founded the spiritst center "Casa da Prece" in Uberaba.
The 1980s and '90s 
In 1981, he was indicated to the Nobel Peace Prize; which he didn’t win. At that time, his fame extended to other parts of the world, with several books translated into other languages, as well as adaptations for soap operas versions. By the end of 1990, the medium had already psychographed more than four hundreds books. At that time; it was estimated that approximately fifty millions of spiritist books were circulating in Brazil, from which; fifteen million of them were attributed to Chico Xavier and twelve millions to Kardec (SANTOS, 1997:89).
In 1994, the American tabloid National Examiner published an article saying, “Ghost writers make novelist a millionaire” The article was vaunted in Brazil by the extinct news magazine; revista Manchete, titled as Secretary of Ghosts, where it said that, according to National Examiner information; the Brazilian medium had made twenty million dollars as a “Secretary of Ghosts”. Manchete magazine proceeded saying: "According to the newspapers, he is the first one to have admitted that the 380 books he had produced were by 'ghost-writers', “literally ghosts'", concluding that; Chico simply transcribes psychographed books through more than 500 deceased and buried writers and poets.
The medium; did not respond to the attacks, but FEB, publisher of most of Chico's books; through its then president Juvanir Borges de Souza sent a letter to the magazine; informing them that; all copyrights and remuneration from Francisco Cândido Xavier’s books had been granted to charity; and that the same procedure was being performed with other publishers as well, yet; emphasizing that "the copyrights are granted absolutely for free, in order to make the books affordable enough, and as well contribute to the disclosure of the Spiritist Doctrine".
The same president of FEB, on October 4 of the same year; during the first Worldwide Spiritist Congress, presented a "vote of recognition and appreciation to the medium Francisco Cândido Xavier", approved by the FEB National Federative Council, under a proposal presented by the president of Federação Espírita do Estado de Sergipe. (Spiritist Federation from the state of Sergipe) In the document; the entities representing the spiritism in Brazil devoted their gratitude and respect for the medium "for his intense and extended works, for the example of life dedicated to studies and fraternity, disclosure and practices of spiritism, for the spiritual and material guidelines, assistance and help to the neighbor".
'Although, no one can go back and make a new start, anyone can start now and make a new end.' Chico Xavier
The medium died at the age of 92, due to a cardio respiratory arrest in 2002, According to friends and close relatives, Chico had asked God to take him away in a day which all Brazilian people were very happy and the country under some kind of celebration; this way, no one would be sad with his departure. On the day of his death, the country was celebrating the conquest of the Soccer World Cup, (Chico died around nine hours after the game Brazil x Germany).
In 2000, Chico was elected the “Mineiro” from the 20th century, (“Mineiro” name given to people born in the state of Minas Gerais; Brazil) followed by Alberto Santos-Dumont (founder of the aviation in Brazil) and Juscelino Kubitschek (President of Brazil 1956 – 1961 and founder of Brasilia); in a contest performed by Rede Globo Minas, (Rede Globo Minas; TV station from the state of Minas Gerais) with 704.030 votes.
The city of Uberaba (Town where Chico lived) recently started the construction of a memorial in his honor.
Recently, on the program “O maior Brasileiro de todo os tempos” (The greatest Brazilian from all times), broadcasted by SBT (Brazilian Television Channel), he was elected by popular votes, as one of the 12 greatest Brazilian citizen from all times; this way; he went on to the next step (02/08/2012), disputing against Irmã Dulce (catholic nun) on a knockout stage, he was elected by 50.5% of the votes. On the semifinal of the program he disputed against Ayrton Senna, (Brazilian formula 1 racer) receiving 63, 8% of the votes. At the end of the program, Chico competed against Santos Dumont (founder of the aviation in Brazil) and Princess Isabel (responsible for the abolition of slavery in Brazil); but, was him the elected one to become “the greatest Brazilian from all times” with 71, 4% of the votes.
Biographic movie 
On April 2010, date which Chico Xavier would turn 100 years, The movie “Chico Xavier o Filme” was launched; based on the biography titled “As Vidas de Chico Xavier”, (The lives of Chico Xavier) by the journalist Marcel Souto Maior. Directed and produced by the movie - maker Daniel Filho, Chico Xavier is interpreted by the actors Matheus Costa, Ângelo Antônio e Nelson Xavier, respectively during three stages of his life: from 1918 to 1922, 1931 to 1959 and 1969 to 1975.
Psychographic works 
Chico Xavier wrote 458 psychographic books, and 39 of them were published after he died. He never admitted to be the author of any of his books. He would only reproduce whatever the spirits dictated to him. Reason why; he never accepted the money generated from selling books. He sold more than 50 million copies in Portuguese; with translations into English, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Mandarin, Swedish and Braille. He also transcribed around ten thousand letter from the dead to their families. He granted all the copyrights to spiritist organizations and charity institution since the first book. His works are published by Centro Espírita União, Casa Editora O Clarim, Edicel, Federação Espírita Brasileira, Federação Espírita do Estado de São Paulo, Federação Espírita do Rio Grande do Sul, Fundação Marieta Gaio, Grupo Espírita Emmanuel s/c Editora, Comunhão Espírita Cristã, Instituto de Difusão Espírita, Instituto de Divulgação Espírita André Luiz, Livraria Allan Kardec Editora, Editora Pensamento e União Espírita Mineira. Even though he hadn’t finished primary high school, he would write around six books a year, among romances, tales, philosophy, rehearsals, apologues, chronics, poems, etc. He is the most read author from Latin America (note: year of 2010).
His first books, Parnaso de Além-Túmulo, containing 256 poems attributed to deceased poets, among them, the two Portuguese João de Deus,Antero de Quental and Guerra Junqueiro and the Brazilians Olavo Bilac, Cruz e Sousa e Augusto dos Anjos, was published for the first time in 1932; the book caused strong polemic among the literature circle from that time. Among other books, Nosso Lar was the one with the largest circulation, it was first published in 1944, which sold more than two million copies, attributes to the spirit of André Luiz, it was the first volume out of a collection composed by seventeen books, all of them psychographed by Chico Xavier, some of them in partnership with Doctor Waldo Vieira.
A very remarkable psychography which circulated worldwide, was about a case from “Goiania” (a Brazilian city) in which José Divino Nunes, accused of murdering his best friend Maurício Henriques, was cleared from the accusation by a judge who accepted the psychography as a valid proof (among other proofs presented by the defense); a testimony from the victim himself already dead, through a psychographed letter dictated to Chico Xavier. The case took place in October 1979, in the city of Goiânia, Goiás. Thus; the supposed spirit of Maurício, freed his best friend from the accusation of murder claiming that it had been an accident.
Accusations of fraud 
Across the decades, Chico produced thousands of psychographed letters for desperate parents who came to him in order to receive messages from their deceased sons and daughters. According to a survey from 1990, performed by the Spiritist Medical Association of São Paulo, names of relatives appeared in 93 per cent of the letters and 35 per cent of them carried a signature very similar to the signature of the deceased. The letters always contained information that was somehow familiar to the readers for whom the letters were intended.
The source of the information was always under suspicion. Some people said that the crew from the spiritual church would talk to the attendees in advance and that Chico had previously interviewed people who later came to him in order to initiate contact with the dead. But even so, the letters were declared legitimate by family members, and some of the letters were used as evidence in three trials.
Besides the letters, there was strong polemic about many poetry and prose books produced by Chico Xavier in the names of famous Brazilian authors no longer living, such as Olavo Bilac and Castro Alves. Although Chico only attended four years of primary school, some people said that he was an aggressive reader, and his library contained more than five hundred books from different authors, including books written by people who sought spiritual knowledge.
The real scandal came when Chico’s nephew, Amauri Pena Xavier, claimed he could imitate Chico’s psychographed letters and also accused his uncle of being an impostor. Later on he regretted his actions, and he took back all the accusations he had made.
During mediumistic trances, electroencephalograms showed that Chico Xavier presented common characteristics of epilepsy, but clinically, he was never epileptic.
Main psychographies 
|Year||Book||English version||Spiritual author||Editor|
|1932||Parnaso de Além-Túmulo||Several||FEB|
|1937||Crônicas de Além-Túmulo||Humberto de Campos||FEB|
|1938||Brasil, Coração do Mundo, Pátria do Evangelho||Humberto de Campos||FEB|
|1939||A Caminho da Luz||On the Way to the Light||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1939||Há Dois Mil Anos||Two Thousand Years Ago||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1940||Cinquenta Anos Depois||Fifty Years Later||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1942||Paulo e Estevão||Paul and Stephen||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1944||Nosso Lar||Nosso Lar: Life in the Spirit World||André Luiz||FEB|
|1944||Os Mensageiros||The Messengers||André Luiz||FEB|
|1945||Missionários da Luz||Missionaries of the Light||André Luiz||FEB|
|1946||Lázaro Redivivo||Irmão X||FEB|
|1946||Obreiros da Vida Eterna||Workers of the Life Eternal||André Luiz||FEB|
|1948||No Mundo Maior||In the Greater World||André Luiz||FEB|
|1948||Agenda Cristã||André Luiz||FEB|
|1949||Caminho, Verdade e Vida||The Pathway, The Truth and Life||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1950||Jesus no Lar||Jesus in the Home||Neio Lúcio||FEB|
|1950||Pão Nosso||Our Daily Bread||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1952||Vinha de Luz||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1954||Entre a Terra e o Céu||Between Heaven and Earth||André Luiz||FEB|
|1955||Nos Domínios da Mediunidade||In the Realms of Mediumship||André Luiz||FEB|
|1957||Ação e Reação||Action and Reaction||André Luiz||FEB|
|1958||Pensamento e Vida||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1959||Evolução em Dois Mundos||André Luiz||FEB|
|1960||Mecanismos da Mediunidade||André Luiz||FEB|
|1960||Religião dos Espíritos||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1961||O Espírito da Verdade||diversos espíritos||FEB|
|1963||Sexo e Destino||André Luiz||FEB|
|1968||E a Vida Continua...||And Life Goes On||André Luiz||FEB|
|1970||Vida e Sexo||Emmanuel||FEB|
|1971||Sinal Verde||André Luiz||Comunhão Espírita
|1977||Companheiro||Emmanuel||Instituto de Difusão
|1985||Retratos da Vida||Cornélio Pires||IDE/CEC|
|1986||Mediunidade e Sintonia||Emmanuel||CEU|
|1991||Queda e Ascensão da Casa dos Benefícios||Bezerra de Menezes||GER|
|1999||Escada de Luz||Several||CEU|
See also 
- Hess, David J. (1994). Samba in the night: spiritism in Brazil. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08432-3,.
- Bello, Alex (Thursday 11 July 2002 11.24 BST). "Obituary: Chico Xavier". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Chico Xavier (film)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Chico Xavier vence e é eleito O Maior Brasileiro de Todos os Tempos" (in Portuguese). SBT. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- http://www.spiritist.org World Spiritist Board
- http://www.tvcei.com/portal Spiritist TV
- http://www.luzespirita.org.br/english.html Portal Luz Espírita in English
- http://www.luzespirita.org.br Portal Luz Espírita in Portuguese
- http://www.febnet.org.br Spirit Federation of Brazil