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Inspired by the medium Chico Xavier, Folha Espírita celebrates 50 years

From its printed editions in standard and tabloid formats, sold in newsstands and to subscribers, Folha Espírita (FE) has moved to digital platforms and expanded to social media and podcasts.  Starting this month of April/2024, FE will also be published in English.  It continues to make history with the purpose of discussing current events in the light of Spiritism, as codified by Allan Kardec.

Claudia Santos

Folha Espírita was established on April 18, 1974.  Its purpose was to be a vehicle for disseminating Spiritist activities in our country and summarizing international events of interest to Spiritism.  In addition, it aimed at providing interpretations of various events according to the principles of the Spiritist Doctrine with the explanatory projection of Spiritism onto contemporary history”.  The first edition, with 10.000 copies, sold out in a few days.

In mid-1973, Jamil Nagib Salomão visited Chico Xavier in Uberaba, MG, and returned with a message from the medium to José de Freitas Nobre, a follower of the Spiritist Doctrine, and at that time a member of the Brazilian Parliament.  Nobre was asked by Chico Xavier to launch a Spiritist newspaper to be sold at newsstands, with the support of the Cairbar Schutel Spiritist Group – GECS, with headquarters in São Paulo and a branch in Diadema, a town in the metropolitan area.  True to that call from the Spiritual World, the first issue of Folha Espírita was published on April 18, 1974.  In 50 uninterrupted years of activities, the newspaper has played a leading role in numerous historic moments, such as the campaign for the Nobel Prize for Chico Xavier, the national anti-abortion campaign, and a decisive partnership with the São Paulo Medical-Spiritist Association – AME-SP, in a scientific research about the mediumship of Francisco Cândido Xavier.  This research lasted for over 15 years and gained international recognition, contributing to scripts for television and film productions.  In 1990 Folha Espírita established its own publishing house, FE Editora, and published “Life Triumphs”, the first of many titles.  Some of these books have become reference material for Spiritist Centers in Brazil and abroad.

“In all these years, Folha Espírita has aimed to interpret the values of its time, as its founder clarified in the first edition.  It has never sought to impose convictions or to claim absolute truth; its foremost objective was to contribute to the dissemination of Spiritism.  We have learned from Freitas Nobre to respect the right to opinion, to diverge, because the exchange of experiences enriches thought and develops discernment. And we stand firm on this principle,” states editor Claudia Santos.

Folha Espírita has undergone transformations like much of the global media.  The monthly printed edition was funded by sales at newsstands, but mainly through subscriptions.  In 2020, due to the pandemic, it transitioned fully to online publishing and embraced social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).  In 2022 it introduced podcasts.  “We have a team of journalists and other professionals in the field of Communication who work daily to bring the best content to spiritist and non-spiritist audiences.  We are celebrating the joy of fulfilling our duty so far, united in our ideals from the beginning, with the certainty that we are part of the history of the Brazilian Spiritist Movement,” adds Claudia.

“We do not wish to establish dogmatic positions, even because the Spiritist Doctrine is the doctrine of reason, reasoning, conviction.  It is preferable, as Kardec said, to reject a hundred truths than to admit one lie.  However, regarding doctrinal fidelity, we cannot compromise, because Kardec’s Codification has charted, with the assistance of the spiritual world, the philosophical, scientific, and religious paths of Spiritism.  Therefore, the editorial team is responsible for the concepts put forth by its contributors regarding doctrinal guidance, especially because the material would not be published if it were not faithful to Kardecian principles”, wrote Freitas Nobre in the first edition.

In 50 uninterrupted years of activities, the newspaper has played a leading role in numerous historic moments, such as the campaign for the Nobel Prize for Chico Xavier, the national anti-abortion campaign, and a decisive partnership with the São Paulo Medical-Spiritist Association – AME-SP, in scientific research about the mediumship of Francisco Cândido Xavier.

The launch date refers to the release of The Spirits’ Book

The launch date, April 18, was chosen precisely because it is the date of the historical release of The Spirits’ Book by Allan Kardec in 1.857  The management of Folha Espírita, aiming to pay homage to the Spiritist Federation of the State of São Paulo FEESP, launched the newspaper at the Espírita Bookstore headquarters at 198 Maria Paula Street.  Present were, among others, Luiz Monteiro de Barros, then president of the Union of Spiritist Societies of the State of São Paulo; representing the president of the Spiritist Federation of the State of São Paulo, Carlos Jordão da Silva; Antônio Ferreira Filho, president of the São Paulo Medical-Spiritist Association; Spartaco and Zita Ghilardi and Apolo Oliva Filho, from the Batuíra Spiritist Group; Pedro Jacintho, FEESP’s Outreach Director; Josyan Courté, head of the Book Department and administrator of the Espírita Bookstore; S. Ramaciotti, from the Emanuel Spiritist Group of São Bernardo do Campo/SP; Manoel Pricoll, FEESP counselor; Edson Leones, FEESP’s Education Director; Ciro Dirani, School of Evangelical Apprenticeship Director; Manoel São Marcos, School of Mediums Director; João Batista Lausto, FEESP’s Public Relations Director; Inácio Giovini, Organization Department Director of USE; Francisco Galvez and Encarnação Galvez, Flora Geni, Stig Roland Ibsen, and representatives of numerous Spiritist entities from the state of São Paulo.

“It was a night of profound joy.  The newspaper’s plans were presented, and the main facts of Allan Kardec’s life related to doctrinal dissemination and, particularly, with the launch of The Spirits Book, were recalled . The prevailing comment during the newspaper launch ceremony was the anticipation of finding Folha Espírita in the city’s newsstands, the basis for structuring a weekly newspaper and, after all, a Spiritist daily for Brazil”, he recalls. Claudia.

Contributors who made history

Several personalities have contributed to Folha Espírita over the years.  Among them, Hernani Guimarães Andrade, who led the “Spiritism and Science” section; Elsie Dubugras, who wrote about various topics, especially those related to paranormal phenomena abroad; Fernando Worm, who conducted many interviews with Chico Xavier and wrote extensively about his teachings; and Richard Simonetti, who focused on doctrinal themes and current affairs from a Spiritist perspective, often with a touch of humor.  Others who contributed: Zilda Rossin, Hermínio C. Miranda, Jorge Andréa, Márcia Bacelli, Mario B. Tamasia, Ney Prieto Peres, Carlos A. Bacelli, Walter Francini, Fernando Portela, Miriam Portela, Marco Antonio Palmieri, Suely Abujade, Anna Graciano, Alba das Graças Pereira, Sebastião Anselmo, Geraldo Santos, Sonia Rinaldi, Leila Villas, Leandro Romani, Cristiane Assis, among many others.

The future

Since October 2020, Folha Espírita has become entirely digital and can be accessed through the website www.folhaespirita.com.br.  It was also at that time that it became free, meaning there is no longer a need to subscribe to access the monthly publications. “It is in this way, honoring the commitment to dissemination taught by our founders, that we continue to produce content every month.  In addition to the free monthly online edition, for the 50th anniversary we launched our new portal, which also has a collection of all editions so that everyone can research and study the history of Folha Espírita”, reinforces Marketing Director Conrado Santos, who, since childhood, has been involved with the work of FE.  And moving towards digitalization, Folha Espírita launched its podcast in 2020, which is available on various audio platforms and on its portal, thus enabling access to current reflections from the perspective of Folha Espírita.  “The podcast version was born in the midst of the pandemic, with the aim of bringing new formats in such a unique moment that humanity has gone through, while staying up to date with communication trends in the contemporary world”, comments Eleni Gritzapis, editor of channel.  The commitment is for another 50 years and beyond, continuing to disseminate the Doctrine.

FE in books

Alongside Folha Espírita, a publishing house – FE Editora – was established in 1990 under the leadership of Marlene Nobre.  Life Triumphs, the first book, was followed my other titles: Lessons of Wisdom; Obsession and its Masks; The Cry of Life; Life Against Abortion; Our Life on the Beyond; The Soul of Matter; Healing Pass as Magnetic Cure; The Gift of Mediumship; The Light of Eternal Restart; 2012 – the Deadline of the Old World; 2019 – the Peak of Planetary Transition.  In total, more than 100.000 copies of books published by FE Editora have been sold.  Marlene Nobre, a medical doctor and one of the country’s most prominent figures in the Spiritist Movement took over the monthly paper after her husband, Freitas Nobre, passed away in 1990.  She was the founder of the International Medical-Spiritist Association AME-Int., and of a number Medical-Spiritist Associations in Brazil.  She passed away in January 2015.

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