Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Francisco Cândido Xavier (April 2, 1910 - June 30, 2002), popularly known as "Chico Xavier" (Chico is the nickname to Francisco, just as "Frank" is to "Francis"), was the most popular and prolific medium in 20th century Brazil's Kardecist Spiritism movement. Over his life he wrote over 400 books, using a process known as psychography , where his hand was said to be guided by spirits that wanted to leave a written message, or sometimes entire books.
Some of his books are considered by Brazilian spiritists followers to be fundamental for the comprehension of the practical aspects of the doctrine. The doctrine found in his books often diverges with "orthodox" Kardecism for its more Christian tendencies, relegating the experimental and theoretical parts of the doctrine to a second place.
Chico Xavier was a respected figure, whose honesty and good character were not denied, even by his opponents from other religions. He kept a simple life, donating all the income from the books he wrote and the donations he received for charity. He was also a great patriot and believed that his mission was to establish Brazil as Coração do Mundo e Pátria do Evangelho (Heart of the World and Home of the Gospel).
His appearances on TV talk shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped to stablish Kardecist Spiritism as one of the main religions professed in Brazil. At the peak of his activities, it was common for celebrities to visit his home at the city of Uberaba for moral and spiritual advice, or just for talking. For more than 30 years he was assumed (and maybe assumed himself) as a kind of national "guru" whose advice people used to seek.
He often stressed the point that none of the abilities attributed to him was really his, but that he was only a channel for the work of the spirits; that he was not able to produce any miracle, such as healing people, and he could not contact someone that was dead, unless that person were willing to be contacted. Nevertheless, he was not able (or didn't care, according to his followers) to produce scientific evidence, under controlled circumstances, to convince skeptics of the real nature of his work. His supporters claim that the very size of his body of work (about a hundred thousand pages), the diversity of their subjects, their different styles and their elevated moral are a self evident proof of his gift.
Chico Xavier was recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1981 and 1989 but did not win because of his scarce popularity elsewhere in the world. Although he did not win either of the nominations, his popularity remained unchanged in Brazil. Despite his health problems (general weakness as a consequence of old age), he kept working up to his death, in June 30, 2002.
His death was marked by a strange coincidence, as he died in the same day the Brazilian football (soccer) team won the 2002 World Cup. He had declared in a TV interview, years before, that he wished to die in a happy day for the country, so that his death would not be remembered with sorrow. His supporters claim that the coincidence proves that he was indeed a saintly man because God conceded him his wish.
A letter channelled by Chico Xavier from supposedly the victim of a murder once helped to set the innocence of the presumed murderer. The case became nationally famous because the case had already been tried and a man was convicted. The letter caused new investigation and the real murderer was arrested.
List of Works by Chico Xavier
The following is an incomplete (he wrote about 400 books) alphbetical list which includes only some of the titles that are still popular and influential in Brazilian Spiritism:
- A Caminho da Luz (Towards the Light)
- Ação e Reação (Action and Reaction)
- Crianças no Além (Children from the Beyond)
- Desobsessão (Disobsession)
- Entre Dois Mundos (Between Two Worlds)
- Há 2000 Anos (2000 Years Ago)
- Jesus no Lar (Jesus at Home)
- Livro da Esperança (Book of Hope)
- Nos Domínios da Mediunidade (In the Realms of Mediunity)
- Nosso Lar (Our Home)
- O Pão Nosso (Our Daily Bread)
- Parnaso de Além-Túmulo (Poetry from Beyond the Grave)
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