Xavier, Francisco Candido (1910– )
Famous Brazilian Spiritist medium. (Spiritism, the Brazilian
form of Spiritualism, stems from the teachings of French
Spiritist Allan Kardec.) Known throughout Brazil as ‘‘Chico
Xavier’’ (pronounced Sheeko Shaveer), he was born April 2,
1910, in the town of Pedro Leopoldo in the central state of
Minas Gerais. He was one of a family of nine children. His
mother died when he was only five, but Chico saw her materialize
after her death, and during his period at primary school
three years later, he became accustomed to hearing voices and
sensing spirit presences.
He won an honorable mention for an essay contest with an
entry that appeared to be dictated to him by a spirit form. On
being challenged to produce another ‘‘spirit essay,’’ he went
straight to the blackboard and started writing a profound statement
on the theme suggested, after which the teacher recommended
he stop talking about spirit voices and pray on conventional
Catholic lines.
He became a practicing medium in 1927 soon after one of
his sisters was cured of apparent possession through the efforts
of a healing medium. The whole Xavier family became Spiritists,
and the medium’s wife, Carmen Perácio, founded an evangelical
Spiritist center, where Xavier manifested an ability for
automatic writing. At one of these sessions, Perácio had a vision
of a priestly spirit, ‘‘Emmanuel,’’ who became Xavier’s
spirit guide thereafter. Xavier’s mediumship continued in the
form of automatic writing from spirit dictation.
Although nearly blind in one eye through most of his life
and with only a rudimentary primary education, Xavier produced
a prodigious number of books recognizably in the style
of hundreds of deceased Brazilian and Portuguese authors
whose works he had never had the opportunity to study.
In addition, he visited invalids in the district and undertook
voluntary social work at his Pedro Leopoldo Spiritist Center at
Uberaba. Hundreds of visitors came to this center for a personal
message delivered by Xavier in trance, with instructions on
individual problems, whether spiritual or medical. He has written
some 130 books, of which over 3,000,000 copies have been
sold in 415 editions. Some of these books have been translated
into Spanish, French, Japanese, Esperanto, and English.
His book Evoluc˜ao em dois mundos (Evolution in Two Worlds,
1959) was written in collaboration with Dr. Waldo Vieira, who
lived 250 miles away. The chapters were written alternately in
uniform style and continuity, and the work took only forty days.
It contained scientific concepts beyond the medium’s understanding,
suggesting to many that such information does not
come from the medium’s subconscious. Brazilian Spiritists follow
Allan Kardec in clearly distinguishing between escrita automatica
(automatic writing involving the medium’s subconscious)
and psiografia (involving a spirit entity).
In spite of the enormous popularity of his prodigious literary
output, Xavier never accepted payment for any of his books
and even disclaimed personal credit by the phrase ‘‘dictated by
the spirit of–’’ on the title page.
He left Brazil only on two occasions. In 1965 and 1966 he
made brief trips to Spiritualist centers abroad and a pilgrimage
to the tomb of Allan Kardec in Paris, France. He appeared on
Brazilian television programs, but remained a modest, sincere
individual who devoted his psychic gift to the service of mankind.
He was made an honorary citizen of S˜ao Paulo in 1973,
and was similarly honored by other cities and towns in Brazil,
including Rio de Janeiro, Uberada, Campinas, and S˜ao Bernardo.
In 1977, the government of Brazil endorsed Xavier’s
half century as a medium by issuing a postage stamp in his
honor. This official recognition of Spiritism is unique to Brazil;
the government has also issued postage stamps honoring Allan
Kardec and his teachings.
Sources
Xavier, Francisco Candido. Christian Agenda. London Regency
Press, 1970.
———. The World of the Spirit. New York Philosophical Library,
n.d