Mestre Paulo Cassis, the legacy of a flower-filled path
| 10 August, 2022
Luciana Cardenuto Bianchin*
Friends from Nucleo Samaúma and Nucleo Santa Fé
On May 20, 2022, with a heavy heart, we received the news that Mestre Paulo Cassis had passed on to the spiritual plane, one day after turning 74 years old. We offer this simple tribute to this dear and authentic friend who taught us so much with sincere gestures and words and with his fine connection with Mestre Gabriel.
Trajectory in life and in the União
Paulo Cassis was born in Catanduva, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, on May 19, 1948. Son of Purificação and Fuad, of Spanish and Lebanese descent, he was the oldest of six siblings. He met Counselor Carmen Lúcia in 1970 and a great love was born between them. They married on March 22, 1974, had three children: Paula, Renata and Rafael, who grew up in the UDV, got married and brought joy with the arrival of grandchildren: Karinna, André, Bruno, Gabriela and Isabella Joy.
They arrived together at Nucleo Samaúma (Araçariguama – SP) after an invitation from their childhood friends, Mestre Sergio Polignano and Counselor Eliane, on February 10, 1981. During this period, Mestre Paixão was the Representative Mestre. Over the 41 years of his walk in the UDV, 36 years were dedicated to the growth of Nucleo Samaúma. He held the position of Local Plantation Monitor and Representative Mestre. Also, for two trienniums, he was Regional Plantation Coordinator for the 3rd Region. From 2015 to 2020, he was affiliated with Nucleo Santa Fe (New Mexico – United States), where he had a strong presence, captivating disciples, contributing to the training of UDV leaders in that country and where he left a lot of saudades.
In the words of Counselor Maria Eugenia Palaez – Nucleo Santa Fe/USA:
“The importance of Mestre Paulo Cassis in the 1st Region of North America and, especially in Nucleo Santa Fe is much greater than can be expressed in a few words. His love for the Work of the União do Vegetal, his enthusiasm for the faithful transmission of Mestre Gabriel’s teachings and his generous and authentic heart were and continue to be an inspiration and an example for all of us. He taught us the joy that comes from studying the teachings and the importance of their daily practice.
Over the years, in so many moments when we really needed him, he was completely available, with an open heart, to guide us and to support us with clarity, firmness and wisdom. He was a dear teacher to many of us from the Direction and from the entire irmandade. During the various sessions he directed, he captivated us with his gift of using eloquent words and his talent for playing good music. His house was always open to the brothers and sisters and, together with his companion, C. Carmen Lúcia, he received people who came to know this Path and the Mestre. He knew well what it meant to serve.
Paulo understood the importance of establishing the work of the União do Vegetal in the United States and did not let the language difference be an obstacle, but found a way to overcome it, communicating with his friendly and affectionate words. His diligent efforts are part of our history and will forever be missed. In the United States, he planted many flowers, the most beautiful ones, in our hearts. We feel saudade and, above all, deep gratitude.”
Mestre Paulo returned to Nucleo Samaúma in November 2020 and was appointed as a member of CONACE of the 3rd Region on January 30, 2021.
Like a guardian who watches over a treasure, M. Paulo worked tirelessly for the Work and for the preservation of the teachings. Attentive and intuitive, words did not escape the sharpness of his perception, they formed a bridge and found a home in the hearts, due to the clarity and sincerity with which he transmitted them. One of the ways we saw his talent was through the songs he played. He dedicated himself to researching records like someone hunting for pearls that could touch people’s sentiments and translate the message that needed to be heard. In this mining work, he recorded some tapes, with selections of songs and messages that marked the history of Nucleo Samaúma, expressing the feeling of unforgettable and happy times that live on in our irmandade.
A remarkable characteristic of M. Paulo was the trust that he had in the Vegetal and in Mestre Gabriel. We saw this in his practice, even in the moments he had overcome. With a creative and innovative intelligence, his words led us to see beyond the meaning of life in an ample and spiritual way. There was one occasion when he said: “the União do Vegetal is the grace of my life,” and he demonstrated the place this sacred work held in his heart with more than just words. His strong connection with nature and with the cultivation of our sacred plants, as recorded along his 41-year walk, left as a legacy a work of love and quality in the plantation of Nucleo Samaúma and the 3rd Region, which will remain as a foundation for future generations.
His heart, his home and his family always had their doors open to receive the brothers and sisters and also the Mestres of the Origin of the UDV, when visiting Nucleo Samaúma. There have been many memorable moments over the years. People saw him as someone they could trust and with his generous and loyal attitude, he captivated many friends and left registered in the hearts of each one the gratitude of receiving his counsels and orientations like pearls, treasures from the sea of life.
In the words of his nephew and friend, Mestre Rodrigo Polignano:
“Few know, some can’t even imagine, the breath of a pearl hunter.
Open-hearted courage, free-swimming, with the ballast of one’s own moral integrity and effort, he reaches the cradle of treasure, with the agility and calm to choose the right shell, open it and very carefully harvest the jewel that Holy Mother Nature has prepared. Having the impulse to swim up, reserving the last drops of air to be able to resurface and – then, inhale a new breath, seed of a new time, enriched by the new conquest that he shares without attachment.
Dear friend, collector of pearls and petals, you are also a dedicated gardener. Today, if our garden is green with smiles, flowers and joy, we owe you a lot for the richness with which you cared for and looked after and helped to build. Your family is your strength, nest of affection and so many examples of accomplishment and victory.
Your moral integrity comes from your character and ethics, examples of a worthy fisherman who learned early on the importance of the right time and place. You think with your own head.
So, old friend, we wish you a happy sequence on the journey towards our Mestre, Safe Harbor in the immensity of this sea that is life itself.”
Before concluding his mission, he had the merit to give the Star of the Mestre to his son Rafael on September 10, 2021. In that moment “so sublime and full of joy,” as he himself said, the feeling of eternity that comforts the heart was recorded in the sentiments of his words: “each person who receives this shirt with the degree of Mestre has this recorded in the spirit and the spirit is eternal.”
“All of Heaven is mine”
His departure took place with the same dignity with which he lived, linked to our Spiritual Guide, with his family and feeling the love of many friends. He took the highest flight in direction of the well-deserved Heavenly sky for those who sought to be just, fraternal, loyal to their principles and to the Mestre. His presence will be eternal in our history. And in the face of longing (saudades), what comforts us is having this universe of wonderful memories.
This profound sentiment is expressed in the words of Counselor Carmen Lúcia de Prá Cassis:
“Over these 41 years, on this path of transformation, I could see the search for knowledge in the person of this constant friend, which through the practice of doctrine, was found and has been transforming, inspiring me to seek to be better too. Today I can say that, after a profound experience that we had in the last days, that the Mestre – in his infinite goodness – does not abandon his disciples. We felt guided, supported by friends, hand in hand with the Mestre. And I could see my friend of all hours, my only partner for 52 years, exemplary father and Mestre Paulo Cassis accept God’s plans with the same dignity with which he lived. I am very grateful to God for having had the honor of having him as my companion in this incarnation, he is recorded in my memory with love and gratitude.”
*Luciana Cardenuto Bianchin is a member of the Body of Counsel of Nucleo Samaúma (Araçariguama- SP).
**Rodrigo Polignano is a member of the Cadre of Mestres of Nucleo Samaúma (Araçariguama- SP).