By Orson Peter Carrara

Spiritism in Piracicaba, the hometown of the great pioneer Vinicius

Álvaro Augusto Teixeira Vargas (photo) is an agricultural engineer (with a PhD from the University of Minnesota) and businessman in the Brazilian city of Piracicaba, in the state of São Paulo. He is the president of the União Espírita de Piracicaba Spiritist Centre, where he also volunteers as a public speaker and coordinator of Mediumship courses. In this interview, he speakers about his involvement with the local Spiritist Movement, stressing the importance of the remarkable Pedro Camargo, better known as Vinicius:

When and how did you find Spiritism?

My first contact with Spiritism came when I was 22 years old, after returning to my home city, Vitória, in the state of Espírito Santo. I had just finished my Agronomy degree in Rio de Janeiro. My mother asked me to drive her regularly to the Spiritist Centre she was attending. It wasn’t near where we lived, so it wasn’t worth driving back home to pick her up later. And it wasn’t safe to stay in the car. So I always went in with her and attended the public talks. One day, during healing, I had a conscious spiritual experience that left a profound mark on me. I realised then that my destiny was to serve Spiritism. A few months later I was already fully engaged in the activities of that Spiritist Centre. I was surprised to find explanations in the Spiritist Teachings for all my questions about our origin, social differences, man’s destiny and the causes of all pain and suffering. I began coordinating the Spiritist groups for children and young people with my girlfriend at the time, who became my wife. 

Considering the three aspects of Spiritism – religion, science and philosophy - what is your main area of interest?

It’s to understand the essence of the Good News brought to us by Jesus. He’s a pure Spirit who coordinated the construction of our planet and accepted the sacrifice of incarnating among us. He brought us the most relevant message, explaining that we need to understand and experience the world in order to progress. That’s at the core of Spiritism, which speaks to our heart, as Jesus did in Palestine, but also addresses our intellect. That way we will be able to strengthen our faith in God, using reason and feelings in balance to make our decisions in life. 

And how did you get involved with the Spiritist Movement in Piracicaba?

After finishing my PhD in the United States, where I lived for five years, distant from Spiritism, I looked for a Spiritist Centre where I could work as a volunteer. For more than 20 years I remained at the Fora da Caridade Não Há Salvação (There’s No Salvation Without Charity) Spiritist Group here in Piracicaba, serving in different areas, including as its president. Eventually I was invited to help another Group that was going through a difficult period, União Espírita de Piracicaba, where I continue to help in many ways. 

What could you tell us about the history of Spiritism in the city?

So many volunteers have been working hard to disseminate Spiritism in Piracicaba and around the city. Many have already returned to the Spirit World, leaving us an important legacy, having lived according to Christian principles. Without diminishing the efforts of all of those who are part of the city’s Spiritist Movement, I would like to highlight one name that strikes out. It’s Pedro de Camargo [Born May 7th, 1878 - Deceased October 11th, 1966] who was a great Spiritist scholar and public speaker. He has left us many books written under the pseudonym Vinicius, which shed new light on the Spiritist Teachings.  

Tell us about the online programmes produced by the local branch of the Spiritist Federation and broadcast weekly by Web TV.

The local federation, USE, sponsors two one-hour programmes a week, which go on air on Sundays at 10am and Mondays at 7pm. They talk about current issues in the light of the works of Allan Kardec, with no political party bias or disregard for any other religious affiliation. The programmes are available on demand on YouTube and at the following online address: uniã

What are your best memories from all these years in the Spiritist Movement?

The time I spent preparing and teaching lessons in study groups for children and young people was really memorable. Those were profoundly gratifying moments, which I can’t forget. The children's joy when they arrived for the lessons was so contagious. I would also mention the work in the mediunimic groups, when I had contact with Spirits who were in pain and lost. I was able to understand the extent of human pain and the consequences of the moral deviations that still plague humanity. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We are going through the epilogue of a long journey of spiritual evolution. Never before being close to Jesus was so necessary, so we are able to overcome the obstacles that have been coming up in the twilight of this materialistic civilisation. We will see, rising before our eyes, a new humanity who will live more according to Christian principles. Regardless of the problems we are going through now, we must strengthen our faith in God. We must understand that Our Master Jesus is at the helm of our planet and that the Guardian Angel of Brazil, Ismael, is looking after our country. 

Leave us with your final thoughts.

Paraphrasing the great Spiritist speaker, Raul Teixeira, whom I admire so much: “Being a Spiritist is not something for those who want to, but for those who can put up with it.” Being a Spiritist requires, indeed, discipline, lots of reading and resignation. But, believe me, it’s very gratifying!



Leonardo Rocha -



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita