Some key names always appear when the theme is Spiritism, and it is important that we know a little more about them.
Allan Kardec, whose real name was Hyppolyte Leon Denizard Rivail, was a French educator that, despite his initial skepticism, started investigating some strange and unexplained phenomena that were occurring in France during the 1850's. Very soon he realized, however, the importance and the serious aspects of those phenomena and started doing careful research through mediums (chanellers) who received messages from spirits. The great work done by Kardec was to intensively question the spirits, searching for answers that could explain all the aspects of life. He published the questions he asked and the answers he received from the spiritual world in a book called "The Spirits' Book". These explanations were accepted as truth once Kardec’s group received messages in which the essence coincided in several instances. The Spirits’ Book was the initial mark of the so called The Spiritist Doctrine (or Spiritism), which strongly encourages mankind to respect, love and help one another. It also teaches the steps mankind should take in order to grow in its evolution.
Leon Denis was the consolidator of Spiritism. He was not just the substitute and continuator of Allan Kardec, as is generally supposed. Denis had a mission practically as significant as the one of the Codifier. To him, was assigned the development of the doctrinaire studies, to proceed with the mediumistic research, to propel the Spiritist Movement in France and all over the world, to deepen the moral aspect of the Doctrine and above all, to consolidate it in the first decades of the Century. In that new Bible, (Spiritism) the role of Kardec is that of the wise person and the role of Denis is that of the philosopher. Leon Denis was nominated the Apostle of Spiritism, due to his magnificent work, and the words written and spoken in behalf of the new Doctrine. He can also be denominated its consolidator, the Philosopher of Spiritism. Possessing accentuated moral qualities, he dedicated his entire existence to the defense of the postulates that Kardec had transmitted in the books of the spiritist Pentateuch. The moral aspect (religious) of the Doctrine, the superior principles of life, the instruction, and the family, deserved his extreme cares, and, for that reason, his life of probation, work example, perseverance and faith, is a journey of light to every spiritist; we will declare further more: for all the individuals of goodwill of all eras. With these words of confidence and faith, Denis himself, summarized the mission that he had come to accomplish in favor of a noble cause: “I have consecrated this existence to the service of a Great cause, Spiritism or Modern Spiritualism that will certainly be the universal faith, and the religion of the future.”
Chico Xavier was a popular medium and philanthropist of Brazil's spiritism movement, writing 468 books, using a process known as "psychography".
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.
Born in Feira de Santana, a small town in northeast Brazil, in the state of Bahia, Divaldo displayed clairvoyance and clairaudience before he was 5 years old. Through his childhood, Divaldo played with friends from another dimension of life that others could not see or hear. In 1947 Divaldo, along with his friend Nilson Pereira, founded "Caminho da Redencao" (Pathway to Redemption) Spiritist Center - this was the beginning of a labor of love to benefit the sick and those in need. Two years later, in 1949, Divaldo saw through clairvoyance a very large area with many children and, through clairaudience, Divaldo heard a voice stating that his life would be dedicated to caring for children in need. In 1952, then, "Mansão do Caminho" (Mansion of the Way) was established to provide housing and care for orphaned children in Salvador, Bahia, through a system of foster homes. All of this has been going for over 50 years now, and still is going strong -- and growing.
As a speaker, Divaldo has ministered more than 10,000 lectures and conferences in more than 300 cities worldwide. In the 25 states of Brazil alone Mr. Franco has lectured at more than 600 cities. Divaldo has held lectures and seminars in 53 different countries: 21 in Europe, 21 in the Americas (North, South and Central), 5 in Africa and 6 in Asia Mr Franco has also spoken 7 times for the United Nations - 4 times in the New York headquarters, and 3 times in Austria, at the Vienna headquarters. Divaldo has also lectured in more than 40 universities throughout the world, always addressing issues of great importance for the human being in its search for enlightenment. Mr Franco is no stranger to media either: Divaldo has done more than 215 interviews to various TV and radio stations throughout the world and, in Brazil, Divaldo's home country, he has been interviewed more than 800 times. Divaldo's schedule, as you can see, is always a busy one.