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Dudu, The spiritist soccer star

The quiet street and the trees’ friendly shade deeply touched my sensitivity, stirring in my spirit the same longing that Beethoven often felt: to absorb the good vibrations of Nature.  Despite my own natural hesitations when heading for a first interview, the welcoming atmosphere of the sunny street accompanied me inside of the comfortable residence.  I was in front of Olegário Tolói de Oliveira: a slender figure, frank gestures, sincerity in his fraternal welcome.  Certainly, this name would go unnoticed by many people, but it was indeed him – Dudu – the notable Palmeiras soccer star, concerned only with transmitting his spiritualist conviction, with exchanging ideas about Spiritism, with the integrity that admirably makes up his character.

DIFFICULT BEGINNINGS

Our curiosity led us far.  Dudu’s father passed away when he was 12 years old.  His mother, a heroic figure, worked hard washing clothes, preparing lunch boxes for boarders, while young Dudu – the affectionate nickname given by his paternal grandfather, endearing him to many – began the difficult hardships of working early to help the family.  He speaks with reverence of his uncles – his mother’s brothers – “people of great love and strong religious faith who helped his family immensely during those difficult years”!  Through the example of his uncles, he then became a fervent Catholic, feeling in them a true Christian support during those difficult times.  With their help, he started working at the Tolói Accounting Office, then at Cacique Car Company, in Araraquara, and later, at Araraquarense Railway.  With sacrifices, he became an accountant, studying tirelessly at night after the day’s work.  He played a lot of soccer but did not think of becoming a professional player until later.  Only when he felt the possibility of supporting himself and his family through soccer, he joined Ferroviária de Araraquara Soccer Club, following in his father’s footsteps.  From there it was just a quick step to becoming a star in Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, one of Brazil’s main soccer teams.

CHANGES

In 1964, he moved to São Paulo and became a valuable player in the famous soccer team, where he remains to this day.  However, he faced many struggles in this phase of his life.  Recently married, his wife was often ill; there was no harmony in his home.  Many times, he had to help with the domestic chores in detriment of his professional career.  He could not find an explanation to all those problems, especially when their first daughter was born.  Maria Helena – his sweet and loyal wife – deep inside her heart was aware of the real cause of her illness.  She knew she was a medium and that she needed the support of Spiritism to learn how to control the problems arising from this condition.  However, she did not dare to mention this to her husband who, at that time, was a devoted catholic and rejected any mentioning of the Spiritist Doctrine.

THE ANSWER

Desperation, growing nervousness, and lack of peace led Dudu to the realm of eternal truths.  He had arrived with bulging eyes and a tormented face to a spiritualist meeting at a relative’s house in Vila Mariana, São Paulo.  His deceased father, who had died in 1953, spoke to him on that memorable night – a turning point in his life.  “Son, stop and think because life is not what you think it is.”  He received advice from other spirits; they asked him to carefully read the spiritist books and meditate on the truths they contained.  That night he left a huge weight behind.  His face calmed down.  Since then, he has never left the company of spiritist books.  He started with Nosso Lar, by André Luiz, and the Book of Spirits, by Allan Kardec.  He devoured André Luiz’s complete collection – a series of thirteen books psychographed by Francisco Cândido Xavier, the greatest Brazilian medium of all times.  To this day spiritist teachings provide him with permanent support, especially when preparing for games that Palmeiras play in Brazil and abroad.

EXEMPLARY PLAYER

In the beginning he used to be extremely nervous and would also disturb his teammates.  The Spiritist religion changed his conduct.  “Since becoming a Spiritist, he has earned high esteem among colleagues, within the club, and among sports journalists.  He now commands respect through his behavior and morals, as he felt the need to discipline himself.”  According to information from his wife Maria Helena and from Mrs. Elvira Becker, a family friend present during the interview, Palmeiras’ officials are planning to erect a statue for Dudu, but he declines such an honor.  “Before stepping onto the field, I pray fervently to God, asking for the safety of everyone in the stadium, for our players and for the players of the other team, as everyone depends on their profession to live.”  “I use concentration times to read Spiritist books, finding much help and strengthening my morals to overcome temptations and avoid less dignified thoughts.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF FAITH

“If I didn’t have knowledge of the Spiritist Doctrine, I believe I wouldn’t be playing soccer anymore.  In my midfield position, I’m the only one who has been there for so long (ten years at Palmeiras, now I am 34 years old).”  “I have received very good vital energy and strength in my thoughts.”  In the Spiritist meetings he attends, he was informed by Spirits that his contract would be extended for another year, as it indeed was.  There was immense joy among the entire Palmeiras” family; his wife – the main force behind his brilliant career, was especially happy.  Given his age, he is the player with the most remarkable recovery on the field.  Palmeiras’ physician, Dr. Naercio Santos Ferreira, does not understand why Dudu’s organic response is so quick, beyond expectations.  Once, Maria Helena remembers the date well – September 3, 1972, Dudu had a severe injury, having been taken off the field on a stretcher witha a broken rib.  As the game was being televised live, two mediums saw through the video Dudu’s spiritual protectors supporting him in the fall, so that his physical damage would not be so serious.  Maria Helena and Dudu attend the Allan Kardec Spiritist Center, on Rua Barão do Bananal, 182, Vila Pompeia, SP.  There, Dudu is a lecturer on the Spiritist Doctrine and his wife is a medium for channeling spirits.  Their friend, Mrs. Elvira Beckerl, is one of the Institution’s directors.  Dudu also participates in the activities of the Center for Spiritist Studies in the Lapa neighborhood, attending their School of Mediums with great enthusiasm.  He is in his final year, but as he travels a lot and really enjoys the course, he believes he will continue for a long time until all his learning needs are satisfied.

“IMPROVING LIFE”

Dudu has given several interviews affirming his spiritualist convictions.  A very curious note is the letter he received from a young man from the Northern Region of Brazil.  He kindly asked Dudu to send him the works of Allan Kardec, as he was in a terrible financial situation.  He had read in an interview with the soccer star that Dudu’s financial situation had improved after he had read Kardec’s works.  The term “improve your life” actually has quite different connotations depending on the beliefs of each creature.

YOU DON’T CHOOSE A PROFESSION BY ACCIDENT

I ask Dudu what he feels when he is in the soccer field, surrounded by the crowd.  “I rejoice with the crowd.”  I feel more determination, more strength, more encouragement to win.”  He read in spiritualist books (especially Emmanuel’s Laws of Love) that you do not choose a profession by chance.”  “I feel like I am going through an ordeal, paying debts of past lives.  “In ancient times, for example, in Rome of the gladiators, the stadiums were similar to those we see today.  However,  the purpose of the games today is much healthier.”  “When I visited the Coliseum in Rome, I didn’t feel well at all; I got goose bumps; I couldn’t stay there for long.  Then a Spirit confirmed to me that my reminiscences were indeed founded.”

SPIRITIST TESTIMONY

Once, at Campinas Viracopos airport, SP, waiting to board a plane for an overseas trip with his team, Dudu was approached by two young men who knew he had become a follower of Spiritism.  One of them bluntly asked: “Why, being a Spiritist, do you play so aggressively on the field and complain about the referees?”  “Look, my friend, I’m a player but I am also a human being.  I have improved a lot – I no longer smoke, drink. I have controlled my sexuality, but I am still struggling.  I still lose my cool quite often because I want to win on the field; I root for my team’s victory.  Spiritism is a school that teaches us to overcome our faults slowly, but surely.”  One of the young man turned to the other and said – “See how difficult it is?”

SADNESS IN VICTORY

On May 7, 1968, a Tuesday, Dudu’s mother, Dona Alzira, passed away.  With the club’s consent, for several days the loving son had stayed next to his ailing mother in Araraquara, providing care and support.  He returned to São Paulo shortly after the burial, carrying the pain of loss, but also the certainty of the survival of the spirit.  On Sunday, May 12, Palmeiras had a crucial match.  Dudu had missed many days of practice, but the club’s directors, although hesitantly, asked him to play.  Faithfully fulfilling his duties, he entered the game with renewed faith and was considered the best player that day.  Palmeiras won, two to zero.  It was Mother’s Day.  All players were happy, except Dudu, who remained visibly sad.  We know, however, that in the spiritual world, Dona Alzira must have received her son’s gift – the example of faith in the survival of the soul after physical death.  Her kind mother’s heart must have involved him in the soft blessings of affection and love that only the selfless souls of mothers are capable of bestowing.  Indeed, despite the sadness of the separation, Dudu felt much comfort when two clairvoyant mediums, during his mother’s burial, recorded his father’s words: “Today is the happiest day of my life because I will reunite with my companion.”

MESSAGE FOR YOUTH

Any person who influences the masses or that exerts a certain magnetic power over a specific segment of population must always send, through examples and words, a positive message of encouragement and incentive towards goodness. – Dudu, what would you like to say to the young people of our country?  “I believe adolescence is a challenging phase for everyone.  Until maturity and responsibility come, a lot of good or bad things may happen.  However, I would very much like our youth, after they pass the carefree phase, to always look for dignified work, pursue education, and above all, exercise their minds in noble ideals to maintain high morals, raising honest and well-formed families based on the elevated morals that Christ left us.”

20240501x ARdF RVZS FE May 1974

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