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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
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Pages 44-47

Letter of April 18th, 1942

Haifa, April 18th, 1942.
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
The Guardian has instructed me to answer your two letters of Jan. 15th and 24th, and to acknowledge the receipt of the enclosed letter of Mrs. Dunn. 45
He was delighted to learn that the New Zealand members were able to make the trip to Australia, and that such a highly satisfactory N.S.A. meeting was held, in such a spirit of love and harmony. No doubt this experience will prove of great value, not only to the National Assembly, but also to the work of the Cause in the days to come.
Regarding the various matters you refer to in your letters: The Guardian highly approves of the very kind and helpful arrangements made by Dr. Bolton, by which his property at Yerrinbool will pass to the Faith at his death and be used, according to the requirements of a future date, as dictated by the discretion of the N.S.A. It is better that the believers, subject to the judgements of the N.S.A., be left free to select any spot that will prove most convenient for the majority for their summer-schools.
Regarding the Summer-Schools in general; although there is no objection to their being under the direct management of a special Committee elected for that purpose, they must be generally supervised by the N.S.A. in respect to policy, etc. In other words they must be considered as a national and not a purely local institution.
For purposes of convenience the N.S.A. may appoint as members of such Committees, those who are situated near the Summer-Schools and are able to pay direct attention to their affairs.
Concerning individual Bahá’ís’ letters to the Guardian and his replies; the friends are free to write to the Guardian when they feel the urge to do so. However, for the believers to suppose that the Guardian’s letters to them, however full of loving encouragement they may be, give them any special powers or authority to go against or ignore the wishes of their local or national assembly, is to grossly misinterpret his true meaning. The Guardian has been at great pains to build up the administrative order and teach the friends how to use it. How could he possibly himself act in such a way as to ignore or belittle the functions of these bodies? He often encourages believers to work, to teach, to pursue some plan they propose in their letters to him but this does not mean a veto of the assembly’s rights, or that the individual thus becomes free to ignore its authority. He trusts this will make the matter quite plain to the friends. 46
Regarding the matter of Mother Dunn’s letter; the N.S.A., will, he feels sure, do all in their power to allay the fears of Mother Dunn and smooth out any misunderstandings that may arise. He feels, however, that you should point out to Mother Dunn that if, at any future date, the believers of Australia and New Zealand should wish to remove the remains of Father Dunn and herself to a beautiful site in a Bahá’í cemetery, or any other chosen spot, they cannot do it without some legal authorization. Just at present, after an infinite amount of red tape being gotten through, the Egyptian N.S.A. has at last succeeded in getting arrangements made for the transfer of Lua Getsinger’s and Mírzá Abu’l-Faḍl’s bodies to the new Bahá’í Cemetery. It is to ensure success and save trouble in the future, that your assembly is asking her to delegate certain powers to it in this matter. He feels sure she will cooperate fully when she understands the matter.
In view of the criticalness of the times, the great issues facing the entire human race, and the uncertainty of what perils and trials may yet remain ahead of us to be endured, the Guardian feels, that the sooner Father Dunn’s memorial is erected the better. Mother Dunn may rest assured in her heart that future believers of Australia will know how to honour and cherish dear Father Dunn’s grave; for the time being, though, it seems to him, it would be wise to complete whatever arrangements are under way as speedily as possible, subject, of course, to her acceptance, as he does not want her to be distressed or unhappy over this matter.
The Guardian would be very glad to receive as soon as possible photographs of Father Dunn’s grave upon its completion, to be placed in the Mansion of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahjí.
He assures you all that he feels the greatest confidence in your ability to aid the believers of Australia and New Zealand to weather all storms during the dark days we are passing through. The friends of those two countries have amply displayed their deep loyalty to the Faith, their profound dedication to its Divine Mission, their adherence to its laws and institutions. He always thinks of them with a heart at rest and feelings of deep affection.
Rest assured that his loving prayers will continue to be offered on their behalf, and for you and your fellow members 47 of the N.S.A., who are serving with such devotion and self-sacrifice the Holy Faith.
With warm Bahá’í Greetings and love, R. Rabbani.
[From the Guardian:]
Dearly-beloved friends:
The spirit manifested by the valiant supporters of the Faith in Australia and New Zealand is most encouraging, highly meritorious, and truly exemplary. The work they have achieved, the plans they are devising, the hopes they cherish for the future, fill me with admiration and evoke my deepest gratitude. The Beloved will assuredly continue to illumine their path, to sustain their efforts, and to bless their accomplishments in these days of unprecedented stress, anxiety, and peril. I will continue to supplicate for them all His abundant and imperishable blessings.
Your true and grateful brother,