Manel Nogueira, more practice than preaching

James Allen*

A nut collector in his tender infancy, the one who Mestre Gabriel called Manel Nogueira, and who became known as the “Mestre’s Parrot”, is a mixture of survivor and born leader. Born on December 30th, 1946, in Belém of Pará, he would be turning 70 years old, if still alive today. Mestre Manoel Nogueira had a hard life. He needed to count on brothers and sisters, who supported him in recognition of the collaboration that he could give to our irmandade for his time spent with Mestre Gabriel.

And it was this support that brought him to Brasilia-DF in 1988, after an important trajectory through the North of Brazil, where he exercised roles of responsibility in the direction of the União do Vegetal, including the General Representative Mestre in 1982, when the General Headquarters still was in the capital of Rondônia- the territory would transform into a state exactly in that year.

He began to drink Vegetal in Porto Velho in 1965, until he moved to Manaus-AM to treat his health. When Mestre Gabriel went to the capital of Amazonia to formalize the Nucleo of Manaus, in 1971, Mestre Manel received the position of First Treasurer on January 25th.

Nucleos Caupuri and Estrela do Oriente

He was Representative Mestre of Nucleo Caupuri in 1976, a title he received from Mestre Florêncio, to whom he returned the role in 1980. From there, he was called to Porto Velho, and received the General Representation in May of 1982 and exercised the title until the end of October.

In 1982, the General Headquarters was transferred to Brasília-DF. Manel Nogueira went to Boa Vista-RR, where he founde Nucleo Estrela do Oriente in 1984, and was Representative Mestre until 1988.

Then he came to Brasilia to collaborate with the direction of the General Headquarters and in search of a better financial condition. In his testimonies, registered by our Department of Memory and Communication (DMC), he himself affirmed that, to leave Manaus for Porto Velho, his family suffered due to their material conditions.

His family accompanied him in all these moments and lives today in Brasilia. His companion is counselor Isabel Silva and their children: today counselor Joel, Joelma, Adamor, Dalva and Lindalva. All frequent the General Headquarters of the União do Vegetal.

Nucleo Gaspar

Already in the Federal District, Manel Nogueira exercised the role of Central Mestre of the 4th and 5th regions and, twice of the 8th region. For three years, from 1991 to 1994, he was Representative Mestre of Nucleo Gaspar. Though he wasn’t its founder – the first to occupy the role was the mestre Márcio Da Rós – his activities were fundamental in the consolidation of the values of that irmandade.

When confirmed that the legal conditions of the land and the financial conditions of the irmandade would not provide the means for the construction of a definitive temple, he declared: “Let’s concentrate ourselves in building the strength of our irmandade and not in building works.” And established: “The priority is the spiritual.”

General Representation

This is a mark of this mestre. He returned to affirm his beginnings upon receiving once again the General Representation, now in Brasilia on January 6th, 1997. He declared on the occasion to the Alto Falante newsletter that his priority was to “follow with the União do Vegetal without deviations.” Sadly, he left us far too early, passing in 1998, without completing his term.

I followed his trajectory in the last years of his life, from 1990, and I was with him on his only voyage to the United States. I saw in him a man who recognized his need to perfect himself. Declaring nothing, yet when he noted the need to improve his manner of doing or saying something, he would, without fanfare.

He was a brilliant orator, an essential quality for a mestre. His capacity to be direct -a necessary virtue for the moments of high burracheira in the session- still today, I’m impressed when I listen to recordings of him bringing doctrine. In transmitting the teaching, he concentrated, with great clarity and precision, on that which was essential in his comprehension, without value judgements or interpretations.

Many considered him harsh. Once, he said in session, in one of his preachings to the brothers and sisters:

– A man marries once and separates. He says that the woman wasn’t any good. He marries a second time, and separates; and the woman was no good. He marries a third time and separates. Who’s no good?

Once I complained to him, when he corrected me. I said to him that on the first blow, I had already understood the lesson and he still gave me ten more. Manel Nogueira didn’t make light of it, he fell into laughter:

– You can take it. You have the hide for it!

Memory of the brothers and sisters

His capacity to say something when I was wrong, nevertheless, was important. I noticed in the day to day of our relating his care to point out to me something that I would do in the exercise of my office of mestre that I needed to improve. This is a counsel that he always repeated, be it to improve the use of my words or in taking care with my attitudes:

– Mestre Gabriel always said that we need take care with the memory of our brothers and sisters. And in all that we mestres will do, we need to think of this: how will this arrive to the memory of the brothers and sisters. 

He was a mestre who taught much more with his practice than with his discourse. Recently, I noted that I needed to organize my head with what I had learned from him in the preparation of Vegetal. I was surprised to perceive that all of which he had taught me was in practice.

All of the times that I asked in the preparo about how to do something, he would call me to the necessary place, and already would do, in practice, what I had asked in theory and say:

– It’s like this.

In a preparo, a disciple asked him how Mestre Gabriel did the preparation of Vegetal. He was so succinct, as always. He pointed to the pots and said:

– Like this

* Central Mestre for the 8th Region of the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal.

Translated by Adrian Van Deusen,  QS – Nucleo Jardim Florescendo – (Florida – USA)

Revised by Jonathan Spoliansky,  CI – Nucleo Jardim Florescendo – (Florida – USA)

Coordinated by Isabel Cavlcante, CDC – Nucleo Jardim Florescendo – (Florida – USA)

“Note: In the English translation it was decided to preserve some words that are part of the UDV dialect in its original language, Portuguese.”

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