Luiz Antonio Fragelli: Faithful Disciple of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, R.I.P.

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Luiz Antonio Fragelli: Faithful Disciple of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, R.I.P.
Luiz Antonio Fragelli: Faithful Disciple of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, R.I.P.

With great sorrow, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) mourns the passing into eternity of Luiz Antonio Fragelli on October 26, 2020. He will be sorely missed. His love for Holy Mother Church and fidelity to Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira were the lights of his life. He served the TFPs with generosity and courage for almost sixty years.

He is survived by his wife Sandra, their seven children, and many grandchildren.

Born in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, on June 10, 1935, Mr. Fragelli grew up in Rio de Janeiro. He attended the Jesuit high school there and went on to earn an engineering degree.

In 1960, he married Sandra Azevedo and settled down to a very comfortable home in Petropolis, amid Rio de Janeiro’s magnificent scenery. Unfortunately, he drifted away from the practice of the Catholic Faith in the first years of his married life.

Conversion and Crusade

A remarkable occurrence brought him back. In 1963, through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, his eldest son Antonio, only five months old, was miraculously cured of encephalitis.

Shortly after that, a colleague introduced him to Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and the Brazilian TFP. After several conversations with the TFP founder, Mr. Fragelli resolved to join him in the sacred fight for Holy Mother Church and Christian civilization, as outlined in the book Revolution and Counter-revolution.

Every Friday after work, he would take a red-eye train from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, where, in the TFP headquarters, he attended the Saturday Clippings Meeting analyzing major events around the world. Mr. Fragelli was intrigued by Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira’s prophetic insights. He saw him as a providential man, raised to fight the Revolution’s efforts to destroy the Christian order, and fighting to establish the Reign of Mary as promised in Fatima: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!” Mr. Fragelli decided to join the Brazilian TFP and be faithful to Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira come what may. This fidelity became the hallmark of his life.

Inspired to do more than attend meetings, Mr. Fragelli recruited for the TFP among Rio de Janeiro’s high society. He won over his cousin, Nelson Fragelli, and Mario Navarro da Costa, an acquaintance, among others. Both render distinguished services in TFP ranks.

In 1969, being with others at a restaurant, he heard Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira say that humanity needed an extraordinary grace of conversion. Mr. Fragelli asked him to dictate a prayer asking Our Lady for that grace. Without hesitation, he dictated this prayer, which Mr. Fragelli noted down on a napkin:

There are moments, my Mother, in which my soul feels touched, in its deepest recesses, by an ineffable yearning. I long for the time in which I loved thee, and thou didst love me, in the springtime atmosphere of my spiritual life.

I yearn for thee, my Lady, and for the paradise which was placed in me, by the great communication that I had with thee. Dost thou not also, my Lady, long for that time? Dost thou not long for the goodness which existed in that son that I once was?

Come therefore, thou who art the best of all mothers, and for the love of that which was blossoming in me, restore me. Recompose in me that love for thee and make of me the complete realization of that son without stain, which I would have been if I had not been so miserable.

Give me, O my Mother, a repentant and humbled heart, and make shine anew before my eyes that which by the splendor of thy grace, I had once begun to love so very much. Remember, O Lady, this David, and all of the sweetness thou didst place in him. So be it.

The prayer is known in the TFPs as the Restoration Prayer.

International TFP Apostolate and Missions

In 1970, after years of apostolate in Rio, Mr. Fragelli approached Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira and offered to sell his house, end his career, and move with his family anywhere in the world to help the TFP full-time. This act of generosity of a married man willing to uproot his family and live in a foreign land is unique in the TFPs’ history.

Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira asked him to move his family to Quito, Ecuador, to help direct a promising group of young members of the local TFP. In this beautiful colonial city, Mr. Fragelli learned about the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success and her prophecies for the present times. He told the Brazilian TFP founder about this devotion, which soon spread to TFPs worldwide.

Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador
In the beautiful colonial city of Quito, Ecuador, Mr. Fragelli learned about the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success and her prophecies for the present times. He told Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira about this devotion, which soon spread to TFPs worldwide.

On January 31, 1972, as spiritual direction, Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira wrote on the back of a print of Saint Charbel Makhlouf, the Lebanese mystic, this dedication: “To my very dear Luiz Antonio Fragelli, I offer this photo as an outstanding model of supernatural, serene, and profound reflection, unshakable vigor of soul, and boundless confidence in Our Lady’s mercy.” Mr. Fragelli kept this dedication in his office throughout his life, striving to walk along this path to holiness.

In the fall of 1972, inexperience and personal frictions threatened the young American TFP then coming together. One of the founding members wrote Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira in Brazil, asking if he might send someone to help who could be as a father to them.

The Brazilian TFP founder asked Mr. Fragelli to leave Ecuador and provide this help to the American TFP. He accepted the challenge immediately. Before traveling, he asked for advice, and the TFP founder replied, “Fragelli, in the United States, treat those men like a grandpa.”

Mr. Fragelli later related this fact as proof of the Brazilian TFP founder’s discernment of spirits. He had seen that Mr. Fragelli thought his new role was to be a drill sergeant. The counsel preempted disaster for the long-term good of all involved.

A Father to TFP Men

In 1973, Mr. Fragelli flew to New York, where the American TFP members were thrilled with the stocky, powerful man, the kind of man Americans like. A handwriting analyst said he had “the personality of 100 men in one person.”

Even before moving to the United States, he organized the American TFP’s first youth conference called SEFAC (Specialized Education and Formation in Anti-Communism). With amazing energy and dedication, he put into practice Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira’s principle of action: “When faced with a challenge, don’t wait until all is perfect, but with some understanding, confide in Our Lady, jump into the river and swim!”

In a personal conversation with American TFP members, Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira praised Mr. Fragelli, saying, “He has keen discernment, a luminous intellect, and is very dedicated.”

Throughout the years, American TFP members saw that amid the trials and tribulations, Mr. Fragelli helped them see Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s providential role better, applying the Gospel passage: “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, will receive the reward of a prophet.” (Matt. 10:41)

Mr. Fragelli reminded the TFP men, “When you’re given a mission, carry that standard surmounting all difficulties, and plant it on the distant mountain … achieving the goal.”

He taught the men how to fight America’s capital vice—optimism and the Hollywood spirit—and grapple with reality head-on. He also helped develop in them America’s primordial light: a sublime love for the marvelous and a crusading spirit.

Mr. Fragelli’s zeal sparked the first TFP “caravan”—a traveling group of TFP members who do street campaigns. He organized cross-country fund-raising trips and founded TFP centers in New York, Cleveland, Anaheim and Bakersfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, El Paso and other cities.

Perceiving his fatherly and apostolic spirit, many parents asked Mr. Fragelli to be their children’s godfather. Eventually, he had so many that he could not remember all the names.

From Sublime Ideals to Everyday Tasks

From the onset, he was the heart of every TFP activity. A natural leader, he inspired all by word and example to strive for perfection and do difficult tasks. He could be found doing the most menial jobs. Sometimes, he would be in the kitchen, cooking a meal, or sweeping the floor. He made beds for arriving TFP members and personally accompanied them to their rooms. He planned and participated enthusiastically in street campaigns. He helped with the accounting, book publishing, lectures, and martial arts classes.

Paternally, he always answered his phone. Extremely accessible, he was ever ready to sit down and listen to a TFP member. His door was always open to anyone who knocked. He would receive the person with genuine affection and listen to them with a father’s care.

Luiz Antonio Fragelli gives a memento to one of the participants of the TFP Call to Chivalry camp
Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli gives a memento to one of the participants of the TFP Summer Call to Chivalry camp. Over the years, Mr. Fragelli doggedly pursued the founding of a boys’ school, staffed and run by TFP members.

His keen psychological sense helped him solve very hard cases. If unable to offer immediate help, he would inspire hope in Our Lady’s assistance. He never gave up hope. If the person were unusually troubled, Mr. Fragelli would say, “Let’s pray to Our Lady.” He would say, “Call me any time, day or night, if you need help.” True to his word, he slept with the phone by his bed.

In 1974, after his family came to the United States, Mrs. Fragelli and her daughters formed the Office of Monsieur Martin, after the family of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. They did much sewing and other tasks for the TFP. They sewed many TFP standards, capes and ceremonial habits. Just as Mr. Fragelli was a father to the TFP men, Mrs. Fragelli was like a mother to them.

In 1977, Mr. Fragelli established a Saturday Clippings Meeting based on that held in Brazil. As age took its toll, he delegated its delivery to others. The tradition remains unbroken in the American TFP to this day.

From the beginning, Mr. Fragelli emphasized the need to live sacral lives imbued with the spirit of the Faith, even in daily activities. He encouraged the men to chant the Little Office of Our Lady and introduced as much ceremonial into everyday life as possible. When, through Our Lady’s intercession, the TFP headquarters moved to a large estate in Bedford, N.Y., Mr. Fragelli helped establish a regimen of prayer, recollection, and regular schedule.

Over the years, Mr. Fragelli doggedly pursued the founding of a boys’ school, staffed and run by TFP members. After long years of challenges, the St. Louis de Montfort Academy opened its doors in 1995. In 2002, Mr. Fragelli reached another milestone: the establishment of the Sedes Sapientiae Institute, a three-year college-level course to train young men aspiring to the TFP vocation in counter-revolutionary principles.

Through all these years, Mr. Fragelli was zealous that new TFP members could meet Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and get to know him well. He encouraged regular visits of American TFP members to São Paulo for this.

The Miracle on Seventh Avenue

In 1978, Planned Parenthood of New York distributed a comic book called “Abortion Eve,” which promoted abortion. On the back cover was a cartoon, which mocked Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States. It was a distorted portrayal of the Blessed Mother in an advanced state of pregnancy, with the face of the character from Mad Magazine with the caption: “What? Me Worry?”

Mr. Fragelli organized the American TFP’s May 13 street protest at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters on Seventh Avenue in New York City. It was attended by 1,500 Catholics. People from Planned Parenthood distributed leaflets to those in the crowd that said: “We offer an unqualified apology and restate our public repudiation of the cartoon itself and the philosophies underlying it.” Planned Parenthood was defeated and bowed before the power of Our Lady. Hearing of this TFP protest and public reparation, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira referred to it as “the first trumpet blast of the Reign of Mary.”

Seeking Protection

On June 17, 1978, Mr. Fragelli asked the Brazilian TFP founder to place the American TFP under the maternal intercession and protection of his mother, Dona Lucilia, as a secondary intercessor next to Our Lady. The Church has always encouraged the faithful to have recourse to those who lead holy lives. This saintly lady who died in April 1968 would serve as a patroness, protecting the American TFP in the dangers, risks, and challenges of its campaigns and battles with the Revolution. Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira complied with the request, and her protection has been experienced, helping the TFP to survive many a nasty attack unscathed.

Mr. Fragelli Learns to Delegate and the TFP Grows

Knowing Mr. Fragelli’s powerful personality, as the American TFP expanded, the Brazilian TFP founder suggested to him: “You need to delegate. Choose trustworthy persons. Delegate responsibility and do not interfere with them. They will do much more work together than you can do alone.”

Mr. Fragelli took this suggestion to heart. Thus, once he delegated a responsibility, he would not interfere unless the person asked for help or was overwhelmed. He always backed up those under him, inspiring the person with his loyalty and support. He knew how to bring out the best in each one. Thus, the American TFP developed into an organic, cohesive, and well-knit organization, multiplying its effectiveness.

In conversations with Mr. Fragelli, the Brazilian TFP founder said that he noticed something in American youth. They seemed to have remarkable openness to the Catholic Church, moral marvelous topics, the Middle Ages’ chivalric spirit, and tradition. He encouraged Mr. Fragelli to arrange campaigns on colleges to nourish this grace. Mr. Fragelli followed the suggestion and started a campaign on university campuses nationwide. Regular seminars for university students were held. This apostolate later developed into TFP Student Action, which is today famous for its many epic campaigns and videos.

Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli during one of the many student seminars
Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli during one of the student seminars. This apostolate later developed into TFP Student Action, which is today famous for its many epic campaigns and videos.

American TFP Campaigns

Mr. Fragelli and his faithful following of Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira’s counsels led to many campaigns in defense of Christian civilization.

In 1981, the Brazilian TFP founder perceived that a waning Communism was launching a new effort to conquer the West under cover of self-managing socialism, promoted by then-French president, François Mitterrand. He attacked this new program in a manifesto titled: What Does Self-Managing Socialism Mean for Communism: A Barrier? Or a Bridgehead?

The TFPs across the globe joined forces to publish the message as a six-page advertisement in forty-seven newspapers in nineteen countries. Little-known details about self-management became known, and widespread public debate ensued, bringing the maneuver to a grinding halt. Mr. Fragelli threw himself, heart and soul, into this massive campaign, helping to make it a success. He not only headed the committee to get the Message published in newspapers around the world but spearheaded the effort to fund the campaign.

Some major American TFP campaigns directed by Mr. Fragelli include:

Mr. Fragelli’s Finest Hour

The year following Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s 1995 death brought Mr. Fragelli’s finest hour and life accomplishment. Within the ranks of TFPs worldwide, but mostly in the Brazilian TFP, a soft, liberal current formed. Its adherents favored a truce with modernism inside the Church and peaceful co-existence with the Culture War in temporal society. Implicitly, the Counter-Revolution and Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira’s crusading fervor were being rejected.

With great perspicacity and energy, Mr. Fragelli quickly and successfully mobilized key members of the American TFP to oppose the revolution within the ranks. His influence kept this TFP faithful to its original counter-revolutionary mission, following Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira’s example. In the inevitable split, Mr. Fragelli was a rock of fortitude for all who remained faithful.

Mr. Fragelli’s Love for the True America

Mr. Fragelli’s love for the American people was deep and genuine, and he eventually became a U.S. citizen. He prayed, sacrificed, and fought so that the United States would shine in accomplishing its providential mission: To fight and defeat the gnostic and egalitarian Revolution, becoming a crusading nation around the world in the service of the true Catholic faith.

Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli distributing flyers at the annual March for Life
Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli distributing flyers at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

He shared the Brazilian TFP founder’s admiration for the good sides of the American soul: generosity, love for the marvelous, candor, and the crusading spirit. He saw that the Revolution worked for the victory of a false America over the true one.

To help the American TFP prepare the nation for the economic collapse the Revolution had in store for it, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira organized and participated in a study commission. Its goal was how to explain the principles of an organic Catholic society to the American public. From 1986 to 1991, over ninety meetings were held under his direction.

Mr. Fragelli was eager to take the Brazilian TFP founder’s insights from these meetings and make them known to America. After several unsuccessful efforts and much prayer, Mr. Fragelli’s tenacity finally paid off. TFP Vice-President John W. Horvat II wrote Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society: Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go. The book has over 350,000 copies in circulation, and the daily Return to Order e-newsletter has over 300,000 subscribers.

Suffering From Parkinson’s

In 2006, Mr. Fragelli showed the first signs of Parkinson’s disease. He had always been so robust and healthy that many were shocked at the news. Even at 70, Mr. Fragelli had uncommon strength. For example, when a strong younger TFP member showed Mr. Fragelli some self-defense techniques, he tried to twist Mr. Fragelli’s wrist with a quick move. Mr. Fragelli just grabbed his hand, moved forward, and lifted him off the ground.

However, the many years of carrying the burdens of TFP leadership were starting to take their toll. One veteran TFP member remarked: “Mr. Fragelli got sick because he carried everyone’s problems on his shoulders all the way to the end as if they were his own.”

“Purgatory Is Bad Business…”

Mr. Fragelli often repeated the Brazilian TFP founder’s words that “Purgatory is bad business…” Based on the writing of many saints and mystics, he knew that Purgatory is a place of excruciating pain. Thus, Mr. Fragelli often encouraged members to offer sacrifices for their sins here on earth to avoid the fires of Purgatory.

One wonders if Mr. Fragelli’s 14 years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease were not an answer to a prayer to atone for his sins here rather than in the next life.

Mr. Fragelli’s Way of the Cross

In the early stages of the illness, Mr. Fragelli could still walk and join TFP activities. Although suffering, he always had a kind word, a tap on the shoulder, or other encouragement for those around him.

As the disease advanced, he found it difficult to communicate. This pained him immensely, as he was an outgoing person with a real thirst for souls. He used a wheelchair, and every day a TFP member would pray the Rosary with him.

In April 2016, Mr. Fragelli had a bad fall and broke his arm. From that time on, he, a formerly vigorous man who had experienced little sickness before, was confined to bed. During his final years, he could not swallow and thus could not receive Holy Communion. This, too, brought him great sorrow since he had been a daily communicant for decades.

During his final days, one could perceive in his eyes the great effort he made to thank and encourage those who came to visit him. He was heroically generous to the end. In his vigorous years, he carried everyone forward by his courage. In his years with Parkinson’s disease, he carried them by his immense sufferings.

*          *          *

No words could sufficiently express the American TFP’s gratitude, love, and respect for Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli. He did so much to ensure that the American TFP would help prepare the U.S. for the great chastisement foretold by Our Lady at Fatima and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.

In Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s words: “I am very happy with the American TFP. Except for Brazil, the TFP has expanded more in the United States than in any other country. This did not happen in Spain, Portugal, France, Austria, Italy, but in the U.S.A. I consider this to be a very great grace.”

This is the legacy of Mr. Fragelli’s lifework. And his wife and family were closely associated with it.

Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli with his wife Sandra and their seven children
Mr. Luiz Antonio Fragelli with his wife Sandra and their seven children.

We pray for the eternal rest of his crusader soul. Many TFP members hope that he is already next to Our Lady and Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in heaven. May he intercede for all who continue the TFP crusade for the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart in America and around the world.


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