Spritism is the compass that guides me towards God

Sandra Mussi

Interview given to the magazine "O Consolador"
The former president of the Canadian Spiritist Council talks about the early days of the Spiritist Movement and its current challenges in Canada

Our guest this week is Sandra Nazaré Almeida Gonczarowska Mussi, or Sandra Mussi, as she is known in the Spiritist Movement. She is a passionate Spiritist worker, born in Rio de Janeiro and now based in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, in Canada. Sandra first got in touch with Spiritism in 1988, in Brasília. She lived in Canada in the early 80s, before returning to settle down in 1990. Until very recently, she was the president of the Canadian Spiritist Council. She continues to work at the TSS – Toronto Spiritist Society – a group she helped to found with her husband, José Mauro Mussi.

Why did you migrate to Canada?

We moved here in 1990, but we had already lived in the country for two years, when my husband came to do a Master course in at the University of Waterloo, in 1983. We became Canadian citizens in 1993.

What is your academic background?

I am a psychologist with a degree in Brazil. In Canada I work as a psychotherapist, specialized in CBE, Core Belief Engineering and Brief Narrative Therapy.

Which positions have you held within the Spiritist movement?

I began working in the movement in Brasília. In Canada, at the Joanna de Ângelis Group I was in charge of management and was later involved in the implementation and coordination of our Fraternal Assistance services. I also became president of the Canadian Spiritist Council. I am the current Coordinator of Studies of the Spiritist Centre we opened last year, the Toronto Spiritist Society.

When was your first contact with Spiritism?

It was in 1988, in Brasília.

Was there any particular circumstance that led you to making that connection?

Yes, my father´s discarnation. My pain was unbearable. I couldn´t understand the pain and looked for solace at a Catholic church in Brasília. I went to church every day, I prayed but wasn´t able to hear the voice of God, as my mind was full of noise. I was looking for a reason, something that explained the suffering and the why of life and death. I was only able to understand that after coming in contact with the Spiritist Doctrine, the Doctrine of enlightenment, where faith is the result of reasoning and thinking. That´s how I managed to understand the “reasons” for my pain and suffering.

How did your family react?

They accepted it, they were curious about it, but most of all they supported me.

Which one of the three aspects of Spiritism – science, philosophy and religion – is closer to your heart?

As a psychologist and enthusiast of human relations, I found in Spiritism concepts that go beyond interpersonal relations. Spiritism is a philosophy within the field of science that studies the relationship between the material and the spiritual worlds. As a religion and philosophy, Spiritism also focuses on the moral implications of such relationships. It is difficult for me to pick a particular aspect of the Doctrine, as I believe that they are all related. That is the beauty and the unique aspect of Spiritism.

Who are your favourite Spiritist authors?

Allan Kardec, who was our codifier, Léon Denis, Chico Xavier, Yvonne Pereira, Francisco do Espírito Santo Neto, Divaldo Franco, Zalmino Zimmermann, Adenáuer Novaes, Richard Simonetti, J. Herculano Pires, Hermínio C. Miranda, among many others.

Do you have a favourite Spiritist book?

Yes, Paul and Stephen, by Emmanuel/Chico Xavier. The book is so rich in detail that it takes us closer to Jesus, through its lessons on love and forgiveness. It adds light and colour to the Gospel, in a way that helps us in our moral development as Christians.

What are your views on abortion? What is the legal situation in Canada?

I believe that life comes from God and that taking anyone´s life goes, therefore, against the Law of God. I believe the Spiritists in Brazil do a good job in the attempt of protecting life, with a high profile presence at the Congress, in the media, education the people and our politicians and making them see that abortion is a grave error. I believe abortion is more about the moral choices of individuals than a legal matter. As a Spiritist, I accept that we have our free will and that we are responsible for our actions. I pray that one day women will live in a social and emotional environment that will allow them to have true freedom in their decision. In Canada, there are some restrictions, but abortion is not a crime. Women have access to counseling services and medical advice and are offered other choices, such as adoption. They are allowed to abort legally and free of charge if they decide to go ahead of it after a number of appointments with doctors and counseling sessions. Unfortunately the number of abortions is not small.

Do you keep in touch with the Spiritist Movement in Brazil?

Yes, and I feel very honoured to take part in events when I visit Brazil, and especially Brasília. In Brasília´s Comunhão Espírita, I never miss the opportunity to attend the public lectures, especially those by our dear Mayse Braga. At the Brazilian Spiritist Foundation, FEB, I am always welcomed and people are always very patient and willing to answer to all my questions. I feel I am back home, revisiting my big Spiritist family, with whom I have so much in common. When I return to Brazil, I realize the Spiritist Movement there is very active. I am glad to see that it has now got into academia, with many students doing research and writing theses based on the works of Chico Xavier and others. I was lucky to be there to attend the special session in honour of Chico Xavier at the Brazilian Congress last year. For me, all that is just incredible! I imagine Kardec proudly smiling when he sees how much Brazil has achieved the extent to which Brazilian Spiritists are committed to the Doctrine in its purest and most efficient shape. I would only say that we should move a bit away from aid work and focus more on studying and researching the Doctrine in depth and giving continuity to the work of Kardec.

Tell us a bit more about the Spiritist Movement in Canada. How did it begin and how strong is it today?

It began in the 19th Century. Kardec himself makes reference to Canada in his Instructions to the Spiritist Movement. He says that a few months after the first publication of the Spiritist Review he already had subscribers in Canada. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle talks during the Spiritist Conference in Paris in 1925 about his trip to Canada and his lectures on Spiritism in Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. But only more recently we find evidence of the opening of the first Spiritist Centres in Canada. There was a Spiritist group in 1970, in Montreal, the Circle Spirite Quebecois, which worked until 1979 and had only Canadian members. Later, in 1990, also in Montreal, we had the foundation of what is considered the old existing Spiritist Centre in Canada, Centro Espírita Mensageiros de Luz e Paz. The province of Québec remains as the main home of Spiritism in Canada. There is another group, Bezerra de Menezes, founded in the 90s also in Montreal. And in 1998, a man from Québec, Stephane Brullote, opened by chance The Spirits´ Book and became an enthusiast of the Doctrine. He opened a website and proposed the creation of a federation, the MSQ, or Québecois Spiritist Movement, founded in 2001. The website allowed many people in the country to meet and led to the eventual creation of the federation, the MSQ, gathering the members of all groups in the province of Québec. The MSQ met regularly at CEAK, Allan Kardec Spiritist Centre, in Montréal, which had its own rooms and a good library. But CEAK had eventually to sell its rooms and some of its members opened the Centre d´Études Spirites Fraternité, in 2004, which has all its works and services carried out in French. Other members from CEAK opened another group, Centre Spirite Justice, Amour e Charité (JAC), which remains active The three Montreal groups are founders of the CSC, the Spiritist Council of Canada. In the city of Toronto, the oldest active group is the Joanna de Ângelis Study Group (JASSG), which opened its doors to the public in 1996. The group is also a founding member of the Spiritist Council of Canada. Four other groups were later openned in Toronto, Joanna de Angelis Spiritist Study Group, Christian Spiritist Center, Rest on The Way and our own TSS - Toronto Spiritist Society.

When was the Canadian Spiritist Council founded?

It was officially founded in Toronto on November 2nd 2008, with the aim of promoting the unification of the Spiritist Movement in Canada and to encourage the exchange of information and contact among its members. CSC is a member of CEI, the International Spiritist Council.

What is the reaction in Canada to Spiritism?

They are still curious and at the same time suspicious about it. We know we must do a lot more in terms of disseminating the Doctrine in Canada.

As we know, we are already going through the phase of Regeneration in our planet. How long will it take before this transition is over and for the Earth to become a planet where, in the words of Saint Agustin, the word love will be written on the face of everyone and social relations will be governed by perfect equity?

How much I would like to know the answer to that! I wish it would all be over tomorrow. Life in society in a necessity, as it is part of the laws of nature. We need one another in the same way that we need the air we breathe. To live in society, we need respect, which requires a climate of fraternity in order to be harmonic. The more we seek internal enlightenment, the more we will expand our capacity to love, finding support in the Divine spark that inside of us. We will only have stamped on our faces the face of Jesus and the word LOVE when we are able of seeing our brothers and sisters with the eyes of our hearts. When that happens, social relations will be like meeting the Divine, as the Divine is inside you.

What must be the main priority of those in charge of the Spiritist Movement in the world, in the face of the problems faced by our world?

That´s simple: to promote love and good among all incarnate spirits.

What does Spiritism mean to you? How important is it in your life?

Spiritism is the compass that guides me towards God and towards finding myself. I sometimes don´t like what I find, but these experiences help me grow and overcome my limitations. The works of Kardec and of many who came after him have helped me in the endless effort to find my full conscience and to understand human relations. The knowledge of the Spiritist teachings allow me to see myself as I am – not more or less than I am – without noise, without masks, with full confidence in the fact that I am HIS DAUGHTER and thus I AM LOVED. The teachings of Jesus in the light of Spiritism gain a brilliant, reinvigorating, organic aspect of permanent evolution.


marco magalhaes's picture

Nice post Sandra, it gives us a good history of spiritism in Canada and also is very informative for everyone who wants to learn about it