Born Francisco de Paula Cândido or ‘Chico Xavier’ (April 2, 1910 – June 30, 2002) was a popular medium and philanthropist of Brazil’s spiritist movement. He wrote most of 450 books using a process known as “psychography”(channeling spirits thoughts through writing) .
Chico Xavier was born in the city of Pedro Leopoldo, State of Minas Gerais. Chico Xavier called his spiritual guide Emmanuel, who according to Xavier, lived in ancient Rome as Senator Publius Lentulus, was reincarnated in Spain as Father Damien, and later as a professor at the Sorbonne.
Chico Xavier’s work produced religious teachings, novels, and works of philosophy. His books sold an estimated 50 million copies, profits of which were all channeled into charity work.
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 mediumship first appeared when he was only four 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. His mother died when he was 5 years old. He talked with his mother’s spirit for some years. People thought that he was crazy for several years because he talked with spirits.
The godmother’s abuses
His mother died when he was five. Unable to raise his nine children on his own his father distributed them among relatives. For the following two years Francisco was raised by his godmother; an old friend of his mother, Rita de Cássia. She 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.
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 spiritist 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, 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 Jornal”, 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. This 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.
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 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 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 X” (Brother X).
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 (Astral City)
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).
Interviews on the television program Pinga-Fogo
In the beginning of 1970; Chico took part on the popular nationwide interview TV program called “Pinga Fogo” (Dripping Fire) which reached extremely high levels of audience throughout the country. In the same year; besides the cataract and lungs problems, Francisco contracted angina. In 1975 he founded the spiritst centre “Casa da Prece” in Uberaba.
The 1980s and ’90s
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”.
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 1999, the Government of the State of Minas Gerais established the “Commendation of Peace Chico Xavier”, award which is annually awarded to individuals or legal entities who work for peace and social well-being.
In 2000, Chico was elected the “Mineiro” from the 20th century, (“Mineiro” is the 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.
In 2006, he was elected the “History’s greatest brazilian”, in a contest performed by Época magazine.
In 2009, the Brazilian Government gave the name “Chico Xavier” for a passage of an important highway of the country, BR-050.
In 2010, his centenary has been marked by numerous celebrations in Brazil, like two feature films and a special postage stamp.
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 Todos os Tempos” (The greatest Brazilian of all times), broadcast by SBT (Brazilian Television Channel), he was elected by popular votes, as one of the 12 greatest Brazilian citizens of 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, he had been the one elected to become “the greatest Brazilian of all times” with 71, 4% of the votes.
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.
His first books, Parnaso de Além-Túmulo, containing 256 poems attributed to deceased poets, among them, two being the 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 admiration and controversy among the literary 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, attributed 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 medium 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.
Through the decades, Chico produced thousands of psychographed letters for desperate parents and mothers 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, the letters always contained much informations that was somehow familiar to the readers for whom the letters were intended, and 35 per cent of them carried an identical signature to the signature of the deceased.
During mediumistic trances, electroencephalograms showed that Chico Xavier presented common characteristics of epilepsy, but clinically, he was never epileptic.
Download some book of Chico Xavier Here.