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Interview Portuguese Spanish    
Year 4 - N° 176 – September 19, 2010
Matão, São Paulo (Brasil)
Leonardo Rocha - leonardorocha89@aol.com

Interview: Marilda Pereira Bellini and Adriana Mara Freitas Ritti 

The history behind the Ivon Costa Spiritist Centre, in the Brazilian city of Juiz de Fora

This vibrant Spiritist Centre was opened more than 60 years ago.
 It is now led by a group of active women and it carries
out a number of activities, with a strong emphasis on
the systematic study of the Doctrine.


Part I: Interview with Marilda Pereira Bellini

O Consolador: How did you get involved with Spiritism? 

It was pain and grief that brought me to Spiritism. When my husband died unexpectedly, during a surgery, I was left with two young daughters to look after, aged six and ten. A neighbour of mine saw how much I was suffering and invited me to a lecture at a Spiritist Centre. I found myself there, it felt like the

lecture had been prepared specially for me. From them on, I became a regular and got more and more involved in all the activities they had in place.

O Consolador: What experiences or events marked you in your life as a Spiritist? 

Everything I do and experience within Spiritism has marked me, from meeting people and sharing experiences to studying and learning. The more I learned about the Doctrine, the more I realised everything around us is wonderful. I got to know God as the Father, really fair and sovereign. Once I realised that, the understanding of what I’d been through became clearer. It is in the Gospel: “Not a single leaf will drop from a tree without God’s knowledge.” 

O Consolador: How did you begin working with the Ivon Costa Spiritist Centre? 

It all began in 1996, when I was asked to work at their bookshop, in the city centre. That helped me a great deal, as I began to make contact with other spiritists from other parts of the city. We chatted, we exchanged ideas and I was also in constant contact with spiritist books. At that same occasion I began working at the Spiritist Centre’s charity department. Soon after, I was invited to join the board of directors. And I’m now on my second term as Administration Director. 

O Consolador: Tell us about the foundation of the Ivon Costa Spiritist Centre. 

It opened it’s doors on April, 15th, 1947, 63 years ago, by a group of friends who were meeting regularly in the houses of relatives to study the Doctrine. They bought a plot of land in the outskirts of Juiz de Fora, where the Centre is still based. The city has now grown so much that we are no longer in the outskirts. One of the original founders, our friend Edison Mega, is still with us, aged 96. 

O Consolador: What are your main activities and services provided? 

We work on the religious education of children and young people, we provide assistance to poor families, to pregnant women, we have an infirmary, we offer daily soup to those who need, we also have open meetings, psychic sessions, a library and various study groups. We’ve been here for a long time and we’ve had the opportunity to set up a wide range of activities, with the help and dedication of so many voluntary workers. 

Part II: Interview with Adriana Ritti 

O Consolador: To begin with, tell us about the city of Juiz de Fora. 

It is the fourth largest city in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, with a population of about 526 thousand people. It’s a two, three-hour drive west from the city of Rio de Janeiro. Our main economic activities are industry and services. The city has one of the highest life expectancies in Brazil. We have a vibrant cultural life in the city and we have 40 Spiritist Centres affiliated to the State’s federation. 

O Consolador: What are the priorities in general of the Spiritist Centres in the city? 

Their main emphasis is on the study of the Doctrine. Juiz de Fora has a great number of spiritist institutions, all of them very active and dynamic. There’s awareness about the importance of knowing the Doctrine and following its principles. That’s why we have so many study groups and lectures, often with the presence of well-know spiritist speakers from outside the city. Juiz de Fora is a regional hub. Many people from nearby towns come to the city to join our schools and universities, for health reasons, for shopping. That has created a habit and many spiritists from the region also join study groups and attend lectures in the city, which is very good for the exchange of views and ideas. 

O Consolador: How would you describe the work carried out by the Ivon Costa Spiritist Centre in Juiz de Fora?  

Our group has the reputation of being a serious organisation since it opened its doors 63 years ago. Its founders set up a programmed of evangelisation of children and young people, which was then taken to many other places, including the city of Rio de Janeiro. We had the honour of receiving the visit of the great medium Chico Xavier, who spoke to our brothers and sisters and wrote in trance messages by the spirits of André Luiz, Bezerra de Menezes, João de Freitas and João de Deus. CEIVA, as our Spiritist Centre is also known, has always realised the importance of making the spiritist message known to others and that is why it opened a spiritist bookshop in the city centre. The bookshop eventually became a retailer, distributing to other bookshops and nearby towns. It also became a well known meeting point for those who want to have a chat about Spiritism. 

O Consolador: Tell us about the visits you get from well-known Spiritist speakers from across the country. 

We´ve been fortunate to have had with us some of the best known Spiritist public speakers and lectures, like Richard Simonetti, Angélica Costa Maia, Luciano Alencar Cunha and Orson Peter Carrara. Later this year, we´ll have with us Simão Pedro de Lima and Haroldo Dutra Dias. Our brothers and sisters from many other spiritist groups join us for those occasions, which makes us very happy and helps improving the integration between all spiritist institutions in Juiz de Fora.  

O Consolador: Who is the group of friends working with you at the Spiritist Centre? 

We have a group of highly motivated friends, who always display happiness to be here working and are full of energy. They are aware of their responsibilities according to the Gospel of Jesus. In each and every job we do, in each and every activity, we try to put in our love – be it in cooking the daily soup, in repairing and looking after second hand clothes to be donated, in the infirmary, in the music and study groups, in the assistance to all of those who knock on our doors for the first time looking for help and assistance.


Note: The medium, Chico Xavier, paid a visit to the Spiritist Centre in 1947. The messages he wrote then in trance are in the institution´s archive. They were signed by the spirits of André Luiz, Bezerra de Menezes, João de Deus and Venâncio Café. In another occasion, Chico Xavier´s spiritual mentor, Emmanuel, was interviewed at the Ivon Costa by Isaltino da Silveira Filho. Chico Xavier suggested twenty questions were prepared for Emmanuel. The questions and answers will be republished as a book. For contact with the Ivon Costa Spiritist Centre, email Adriana Ritti on aritti@oi.com.br.



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O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism