That’s how common it is there; there’s nothing unusual or strange about it. Spiritism is an official religion. One that we believe truly lead us to an understanding of ourselves and its pervades the culture. For me, mediumship has been the gift of feeling the presence of something guiding me and leading me toward my highest good.

I was about four years old when I started to experience signs of my own mediumship. Of course, at that age I had no idea what I was experiencing. My mother was a devout Catholic and my father was agnostic, so such things were simply not discussed. I had no one around me to say, “This is what you are experiencing. This is what that is about.” So, I learned to carry these experiences silently and to hold them close to my heart, hidden away from the view of others.

From that early age, I can remember seeing and communicating with beings that did not look human. Some looked like faeries, and others like gnomes and other magical creatures. They looked as real to me as the birds and the flowers, but intuitively I knew not to mention them to any of the adults in my life. I knew my mother could not see them when I’d see her chase a bee out of the house, but then she would not respond at all to a faery creature floating about the room. When I was naughty, she would make me stay alone in a plain little room in the house as a “time out.” She would forget about me and then wonder how I had stayed so contented for hours. Little did she know about all these playmates I had with me that remained invisible to her.

Our home was near the ocean, so our family spent weekends at the beach. That is where, at the age of five, I first came into contact with the entity I would later find out is known as Yamanja, the Queen of the Oceans. She would appear to me as a majestic goddess rising out of the ocean. She was dressed in a flowing gown and glowed with a bright blueish white light. In her presence, I felt calm and peaceful as her motherly presence enveloped me. I could hear her soothing voice inside my head, and I would answer her inquiries out loud. She would always ask me to sing, but I worried about my parents hearing me, so I would wait until I was alone by the edge of the water, away from their worried glances.

Being very aware that my experiences would not be considered “normal,” I hid them away from my parents and teachers. When I started school, I closed down into myself and did not talk for an entire year, afraid that I might say or do something to mark myself as an oddball. During recesses, I would follow the nun into the church instead of playing with the other kids. Inside the church, I felt complete oneness with God’s presence and connected to the spirits of the saints, especially Saint Rita of Cassia. Her presence continued with me through the day, and if I forgot to say my prayers at night, she would hover over me and remind me to keep my prayer practice active.

None of what I was experiencing made much sense to me; I figured everyone had these experiences even if they didn’t talk about them. I felt the need to keep these things hidden away from people and I did so for many years. Then, when my father passed into the spirit realm, all of that changed. He had denied spirituality all his life, but now hewas spirit and would appear to me. At first, I thought it was all in my mind since I had loved him so dearly and missed him so much. But there was something so real about his appearances that I could not ignore. He was there with me and there was no way I could deny that. After one experience, I cried and cried for hours and could not stop crying. I finally confided my experiences to a friend, who in turn mentioned it to her mother. A spiritist happened to be visiting her mother, and the spiritist then asked to see me. Clearly, God was arranging things for me to get the guidance I needed.

The spiritist noticed my special sensibilities and urged me to look for a spiritual center as soon as possible. Having been raised to fear these kinds of centers, I at first dismissed the idea. I was raised Catholic and, even though I had always seen spirits, and the idea of going to one filled me with dread. She was quite insistent, however, telling me that it was critical for my overall wellbeing. Without such guidance, I might never understand myself, and I would suffer more and more in silence. I had no idea what she was talking about and had no idea what spiritual centers really meant at the time, but I nevertheless agreed to go.

I must explain that when I say “spiritual center,” it is based on Spiritism as it exists in Brazil, which is quite different than what I have experienced so far in my 26 years in America. In the U.S., I have been in Unity Churches, Science of Mind churches, and other places that are considered spiritual centers. All of them offer spiritual conversations, but not in the same way. For Brazilians, spiritual centers are not only where we come to have spiritual conversations among people. We come there to have conversations with the spirits directly, as well. Most of the time in these centers, the spirits are the teachers and their vehicles of communication are those of us who are mediums or channels. According to the spirits, everyone is a medium, but not everyone is a channel. Some of us can see, hear, and feel the presence of spirits, and some can even enter a trance state of mind where the Spirit or Entity can speak directly through us. Some of us might only have one of these extra senses, but we are all sensitive in some way to perceive life after life or life beyond this illusion.

The centers in Brazil are like schools — some specializing in healing, some teaching about the many dimensions beyond this one, some offering spiritual surgeries. Some centers help those who are influenced by lost entities, helping them to disconnect from them and to send them to the light. There are almost as many kinds of centers as there are centers, each fulfilling a unique spiritual need. But I was not raised to engage with them, so they were very unfamiliar to me. The Catholic Church has different beliefs — no life after life, no reincarnation, no communication with Spirits. Since the main religion in Brazil is Catholicism, opening up to Spiritism is not so easy. Usually, a unique or painful situation brings us to surrender to it. As a matter of fact, we have another saying: If we do not get there by a loving choice, we will end up there anyway because we are experiencing a painful situation. It’s almost as if the spiritual centers keep their doors open to welcome all those who have not found their answers anywhere else, and this becomes their last hope.

My life has always been the most perfect pearl necklace: every person, every moment, every situation always arrives in divine alignment with my needs. Being called to the center was one of those perfect pearls. As it happened, my best friend’s brother, Maximo, was a very powerful medium and an active member of one of the most popular spiritual centers in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He invited me to his home, and I agreed to go, although I was still not sure what I was about to experience. There I was, in my first spiritual session. My fears were paralyzing me, and the idea of spirits filling the room was not pleasant or attractive to me at all. I could not deny that they had always been part of my life, but this somehow felt different.

Maximo, the medium, asked me to sit quietly, close my eyes, and think of God. But all I could think was, “Please, God, help me!” The air turned cold, and I started shaking. I wanted to run, but it was too late. When Maximo fell into a deep trance and started channeling, I could feel the powerful energy and the presence of the entities. Finally, I let go of my fears and surrendered to that greater presence and stayed. Maximo drew imagines, wrote messages about hope, and told me why I was here in this lifetime. He told me my father was there hugging me, and I surely felt his embrace. He also talked about my past life and how I would eventually understand more about what I had been experiencing as the years ahead of me would unfold.

I left that session that somehow changed me, and I was filled with gratitude. I now knew there was more to life, but I was not ready to go search for more. One year later, life guided me back to the spiritual center. There I was again, this time in a real spiritual center.

At that first session at the spiritual center called Os Caminheiros, I experienced for the first time being in a full state of trance. It was scary for me, but this time I was ready for more; it was my divine time to enter the Realm of Spirits. And since that afternoon in June of 1976, I have never stop. I read all the books I could on the topic, participated in as many spiritual sessions as I could, took all the available classes, developed my mediumship, and offered myself to be of service to this center. The center became my home, and I spent more hours there than in my own house. There I found answers, passion, compassion, peace, and a tremendous connection to a world I knew was the only thing real.

I ultimately spent fourteen years there. I experimented by trying other centers, and I explored their schools to expand my understanding. On my last year at the center, fifty other excited Brazilians and I follow our beloved spiritual leader Luiz Gasparetto to an adventure in the Andes Mountains. Talk about a presence bigger than me! This journey and all that has happened since deserves a book of its own, so I will limit what I say about it. Most significantly, I was guided by a High Priestess entity name Chuma, whom I met during the journey in the Andes. As a result of this excursion, I have changed my entire life, and 1989 I found Spirits of the Earth and since then have lead spiritual journeys to Machu Picchu, Peru.

Then I moved to Chicago. I must believe there is a reason I went from passionate, warm, friendly Sao Paulo city to the old, conservative, not-always-so-friendly Chicago. Yes, I made many dear friends there — they are the reason I did not go insane during the winters — but the difference between these two cities is truly like night and day.

Around twenty years ago, I started to receive messages to go to a spiritual center in Brazil and experience the presence of John of God. John of God?! I at first responded, “Why?” We have mediums and healers all over my country, one in each block of every Brazilian city. So I ignored the invitation. But the invitation continued to come throughout these years — sometimes it came from people, sometimes it came in my dreams, sometimes it came as an inner voice, but I always found an excuse not to go. I really got to see how stubborn a stubborn person like me can be… for twenty years! I would have given up on me if I had been my own spiritual guide, but of course mine did not give up. They did come close, though.

I resisted because I thought there was nothing more to be seen, felt, or experienced. I had spent fourteen years in a spiritual center. I knew the operation in and out, and I had visited many others with different expertise, so why did the spirits want me to go to this one called Casa de Dom Inacio? I knew that this center was about healing — lots of physical healing — and since I was not in need of healing, I could not understand why I needed to go. I received direct guidance from the Spirits to bring people there, but I refused the call because I did not want to be a part of people being disappointed. I did not want to give them hope of healing when I knew that I could not give them any guarantees. Obliviously, my Ego was in charge of my decision, so I did not follow my heart and my true life purpose, which was to be in service. I rationalized my way out of answering my inner calling, but the “phone” did not stop ringing. The spirits, I found out, are persist. And I am very stubborn.

Then, last September my nephew told me he was going to Brazil to see John of God. I thought that was interesting, but didn’t think much of it. I blessed him on his path and asked him to pray for me. Well, it just so happened that at that same time I started to wake up to a very sad fact — I was not so healthy and not so connected any more. There was a part of me that was very disconnected, and I was experiencing depression and anxiety. I was giving up on life. I was focusing too much in on what is wrong with this dimension, and I was wondering why we bother with any of it. My inner light was dimming and flickering like a bulb that is about to burn out.

My nephew brought my picture to John of God and then called me to say, “Tia (aunt), are you okay?” I replied, “Yes, why?” He said, “I am not sure what this means, but when I was approaching the entity, the entity took your picture from my hand. I thought John was going to shake my hand, but he took the picture, look at it, and said, ‘We will help her, but we will keep the picture.’” I felt this is a good sign, but I was not sure how accurate it was.

Well, I soon knew he had brought my picture that day to the entities because out of the blue they put me to sleep. Since my mother had trained me to not nap, I never nap unless I am very, very sick. So that afternoon napping meant something very different, considering I was not sick.

Well, not only that afternoon, but for the next two weeks, I could not keep myself awake. I had to lay down and surrender to this distance healing treatment. I felt the entities, I heard the entities, I saw the entities; they were all over me. And one of their messages was clear: this is it, the final invitation — you come now, or we will not invite you anymore.

Finally — I woke up! I got it! My stubborn self was out of the picture and my determined self took over. I was now determined to go. I started to feel like I was there. I knew it would be amazing, transformational, life altering, loving, healing, and restorative. That was indeed what I experienced and more.

Have you ever been without water for so long that when you realized it, you are already dehydrated? Or have you gone without food for too many hours, and you only remember to eat when you are about to pass out? That is how I felt when I entered the Casa. I felt I was home after a long time lost in a desert!

Nosso Lar, the Casa of Dom Inacio, felt to me like a place described in a book by Chico Xavier entitled Nosso Lar, the Entities, which created a duplicate of Nosso Lar here on Earth. You can also learn about Nosso Lar via a film, available online.

I knew to stop at the gates and asked permission to enter. It was around sunset when my friend Teri and I started walking around. She was returning for her second time and was happy to be back. I was in a state of grace and gratitude, but it was tinged with regret. Why had I taken so long? I intensely regretted having missed twenty years of this peaceful Heaven on Earth, so I cried! It took me several days in the Casa to forgive my stubborn self.

I kept a diary while there, which is not a common practice, but I felt I must. Otherwise, I would never be able to remember the numerous miracles I was experiencing. Miracles were pouring on me every day and night. Each morning Teri and I looked at each other and asked, did we dream this? We both were busy every night dreaming healing dreams… dreams that during the days cleared out what was no longer serving us. I felt like I was in a spiritual vacuum cleaner; every piece of dust from this and other lives was being sucked into this universal, transformative vacuum and all of it was gone from my cells forever.

I began to remember so much from my childhood that I had forgotten; so much was coming to the surface for me to embrace in light so I could heal. I also remembered many happy moments, and I understood that during my life many rituals and process had taken place. I now understood that when I deleted my painful experiences, I actually deleted blocks of my life, including all the happy moments that were part of it. Now, I was restoring my happiness database, and I started to feel an inner joy I had not known before.

So I was recovering, making myself whole again while I was there. Yes, I also had what many visitors to the Casa receive — a spiritual surgery – but not the kind where the entities cut the skin. I did not volunteer for that because I did not feel the need for any proof. However, the entities might think differently because they chose to make sure I received a tangible sign that they were working on me. The next morning after my surgery, I woke up with a red scar on the superior left part of my stomach, which looked like I had been cut, and a big, dark bruise was on the right lower side of my belly. I knew these signs were a message from the spirits and were related to the spiritual intervention, since nothing or no one touched my body while I was there.

I had more proof of their loving presence and generous healing energies than I could ever dream of during my two weeks in Abadiania. I felt my mother, who had passed in 2007 and had never come to communicate with me, holding my hands while I was in current reconnection to my divine self. This experience erased all my memories of what depression feels like. I did not have one anxiety attack after my first crystal bed session. I also reconnected to the loving spirit of my friend Chico Xavier, and I told him, “I am here to serve, so please use me.” Also, I leaned that one of the mentors or spirit guides of John of God is Saint Rita of Cassia, my favorite childhood saint. Coincidence? I do not think so!

Even now, two months after returning home, I feel the energy of the Casa in the air, and my heart has expanded to the size of unconditional love and has not contract since. I am keeping a heart-centered, peaceful state of mind beyond anything I ever experienced in my life before.

I knew before I went to the Casa that they were waiting for me. They have been patient and truly loving me through my resistance. So for me there is no time to wait; life is precious and there is so many blessings one can received. The Casa experience is not about healing the physical, but about healing the spirit, where all the illness and wellness really start.

John of God always says he does not heal, but God does. Healing at the Casa starts when we allow the true fact that we are God really anchor into our hearts.

Today, I still can’t answer my question: why the Casa? What I can say, however, is that somehow the Casa is the direct creation of spirits working with the assistance of thousands of entities and humans who have said yes to a call bigger than themselves for a reason bigger then they know. When I finally stood before the Entities to ask permission to bring people there, I had not even completed the request before they replied: “GRANTED!”

So I invite you to be part of a healing journey, a journey that will transform your life…

It’s real, and it’s there for you. You do not need to take my word for it. Give it a try, because it’s totally worth it. You do not need to die to go Home! There is a presence bigger than me, and bigger than you, that will take you there.

In gratitude to all my life spiritual teachers, especially to Maximo, for that first spiritual session and to the Gasparetto family for their amazing contribution in my spiritual journey.

To my nephew for bring my picture to the entities, so I could get my final call.

To my husband for understanding and holding my healing space while I was days away from home.

To Teri for feeling inspired to join me during my healing days at the Casa.

And to my spirit guides and the entities for never giving up on me. I love you all.