By Orson Peter Carrara

Spiritist Hospital Chaplaincy: providential support for people in need

José Luiz Moraes (photo), is a paediatrician doctor in Vitória, in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. He’s a member of the state’s Medical Spiritist Association and coordinator of the Spiritist Hospital Chaplaincy project, as he explains in the following interview:

When and how did you become a Spiritist?

It was 17 years ago. I was 50 at the time and I was one of the founders and partners in a local private hospital. I was feeling an existential vacuum, I was very irritable and the staff was too scared to approach me. In other words, I wasn’t in a good place. I did psychoanalysis and psychiatric therapy to try to overcome that. Until one day, on December 2nd, I had a dream with my paternal grandfather, who had passed away five years before I was born. He sent me a telepathic message advising me to get to know Spiritism. And thus he gave me the opportunity to be born again, as I finally had the opportunity to know Jesus.  

What struck the most in Spiritism?

The assurance it gave me that our souls are immortal and, with that, the conclusion that it was worth pursuing every effort to carry out our inner reform, to practise good and to learn continuously, as nothing that we learn will ever be lost or forgotten. 

What was your initial impression of the Spiritist Movement?

I must admit that I was a bit frustrated initially, as I expected more compassion from the people I met in the Spiritist Movement. And I had the misconception that Spiritists were different, that they were better people. I eventually realised that we, Spiritists, are like everyone else. We are full of flaws, but at least we have clear guidelines showing us which direction to follow. My first negative experience came during the First Spiritist Meeting of Guarapari, when I witnessed a very well-known Brazilian medium telling off, vigorously and publicly, a humble person who had taken an unauthorised picture. And later, I was disappointed with the president of the Spiritist Centre I was a member of, who reprimanded me in a harsh manner because I was raising funds, without her formal approval, for a Spiritist event. At the time, those experiences had a very negative impact on me. Today, they wouldn’t affect me at all. 

And how did you get involved with the hospital chaplaincy?

From my early days in Spiritism, I always volunteered to work as a paediatrician, but that didn’t lead anywhere as we are based next to the University Hospital where I already worked. And there I obviously had more resources to treat the people in need. I later did a post-graduation course in Homeopathy, but that, again, didn’t yield any results, as the people who really needed it couldn’t benefit. And all of a sudden I felt an urge to write. Mind you, I had never in my life written a single verse. And beautiful rhyming verses started coming to my mind. One of those poems was entitled Ambassadors of Jesus. It spoke about the need to transform tears into smiles in the cold and sad environment of hospitals. Stuck Eventually I got stuck and couldn’t finish that poem. After a week, I prayed and asked for Spiritual guidance and I was able to finish it. When my wife asked if I had finished the poem, I replied that yes, I had, but more important than that, I had also received the inspiration for my mission in life. The Spiritist Hospital Chaplaincy was born there and then, in 2011. 

Tell us about the services provided by this project.

When we launched the project, I said that I was planting a seed in fertile soil, which would germinate as a small plant and would become a huge tree that would spread its branches across the four corners of Brazil. And that’s what’s happened. We are now working in almost all hospitals of the metropolitan area of Vitória, and also in hostels and in the homes of people that we visit when and where necessary. To serve is, for our team, a source of joy. We don’t see it as a sacrifice and our efforts have no no barriers. We have links with many other Brazilian states and followers abroad, in Chile, Switzerland, Portugal and even Japan. They join us in our live transmissions on Tuesdays. We have also prepared 14 courses, which have been attended by 1,100 people. We are now preparing the 15th training course, which will be delivered in person and online. And for that, we have created a film set with a real hospital unit, with a hospital bed and all the equipment necessary, including a heart monitor and oxygen canisters, so we can train the people in the most effective way. We have also edited and published a book, entitled “Capitania Hospitalar Espírita.”

What was the main lesson learned from this experience?

It was the ancient lesson of St Francis of Assisi, when he said: “For it is in giving that we receive.” After all, we get somewhere thinking that we are taking something for someone and we end up leaving that place filled with indescribable spiritual joy, as well as huge gratitude from the patients, their families and the organisations that welcome our assistance. Many of those people now talk about their lives as before and after the Chaplaincy. 

Is there any particular moment or memory that you would like to share with us?

There are so many important memories, but the most touching was definitely the moment when my father passed away. I would describe that moment as a spiritual spectacle, marked by equilibrium and the conscious departure of the human being I loved the most in this existence. I am fully aware that this has only been made possible by the lessons I’ve learned in the Chaplaincy. 



Leonardo Rocha -



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita