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Letter of 16 July 1955
16 July 1955
To the National Spiritual Assembly
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
He is extremely anxious to have these properties purchased, either together in one place, or if this is not feasible, then in two separate places, as he has already informed you. Eight of the eleven Temple sites have been purchased, and many of them in very difficult places; and he feels very strongly that it is a great pity that Canada should be behind-hand in this matter, in view of the fact that she is one of the oldest Bahá’í Communities in the western world. No doubt the problem is more difficult for you to solve, owing to special conditions in Toronto and vicinity; but we know that all problems are solvable for the Bahá’ís, with the power of God to help them; and he is eagerly awaiting news of your success.
As regards your question about the nature of the endowment, which is one of the objectives of your part of the Ten Year Crusade: although the Maxwell house1 in Montreal is really a national endowment he feels in conformity to the policy being pursued in other countries Canada should acquire one also at this time. This may be a small piece of land purchased for Two Thousand Dollars or even less, or for that matter, given to the National
The Guardian does not feel that it is possible or right to change Anticosti and to substitute another goal in its place. He fully realizes the difficulties involved; but feels convinced that sooner or later, through perseverance and prayer, a way will open and a believer will be able to get into the Island on a more-or-less permanent basis.
He hopes that the National Assembly, through its love, wisdom, patience and leadership, will carry the members of the Canadian Community forward during the coming year on the difficult road leading to the achievement of their goals. The spirit of enthusiasm and consecration which animates the Canadian Bahá’ís will, he feels sure, bring forth a warm and generous response to all the plans made by your Assembly for obtaining your objectives.
He assures you, and through you all the members of the Canadian Community, that the work in Canada is very dear to his heart, and that he will remember you all in his loving prayers in the Holy Shrines.
With warm Bahá’í love,
P.S.—He is very happy to see you are expediting building Mr. Schopflocher’s grave. The details he leaves to the discretion of your Assembly, as he is too busy to go into such matters. The most suitable passages should be chosen from his cable regarding Freddie at the time of his death, and engraved on the tombstone of this distinguished Hand of the Cause.
As regards building the grave of Mr. Maxwell,3 this has already been taken care of by his family. However, he thanks you for the loving offer.
He approves of your taking steps right away to erect a worthy
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The steady progress of the manifold activities in which the Canadian Bahá’í Community is now so devotedly and unflaggingly engaged is a source of great joy and satisfaction to all who have, in recent years, observed its growth and noted its consolidation throughout that vast and promising Dominion.
Though some of its most capable and active members have, urged by a compelling force to forsake their homes and settle in distant fields, ceased to lend to the members of this brave and greatly consecrated community their valued support, and though a few others to be reckoned among its oldest and most distinguished supporters have passed to the Abhá Kingdom, leaving a gap difficult indeed to fill, yet the body of the Canadian believers, far from flinching or relaxing in its noble endeavours, has amply demonstrated its capacity to assume and discharge its heavy and multiple responsibilities, has steadily enlarged the scope of its achievements, has preserved its unity, and coherence, and set an inspiring example to Bahá’í communities, both young and old, throughout all the continents of the globe.
The superb feats achieved by this community’s indomitable pioneers far beyond the Arctic Circle, in neighbouring islands of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as in far off isolated territories; the incorporation of the elected body of its national representatives; the notable increase in the number of its members; its response to the urgent needs of the National Fund; and the rapid enlargement in the scope of its teaching and administrative activities, are all evidences of the intense vitality of the faith which animates it, and of the firm attachment of its members to the Cause which it has espoused.
Though much bas been achieved in various fields, the work
that still remains unaccomplished is so vital and urgent that
none of its members can afford to relax for a moment, or to
The virgin areas, so laboriously opened, must, under no circumstances, be neglected; nay rather constant attention must be focused upon them in order to consolidate the glorious historic work initiated in those areas. The island of Anticosti, the one remaining goal as yet unattained, and the only island in the Atlantic Ocean as yet unopened in pursuance of the Ten Year Plan, should continue to be the object of the special solicitude of the national elected representatives of this community. The purchase of the site of the Mother Temple of the Dominion of Canada and the establishment of the national Hazíratu’l-Quds constitute a double task that can brook no further delay, as the entire Bahá’í world, having hailed the erection of such an indispensable institution in no less than eighteen countries scattered throughout the continents and oceans of the Globe, is now intently fixing its eyes on this community, so richly blessed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, eager to witness this twofold consummation destined to considerably enrich the record of the services rendered by its members. The acceleration in the process of incorporating firmly established Local Assemblies is yet another objective to which the closest attention must be paid—a task which will, to a very great extent, contribute, from a legal standpoint, to the consolidation of these Assemblies. No less important and vital is the multiplication of isolated centres and groups, the rapid increase in the number of Local Assemblies, and the steady numerical growth of the community—the one enduring foundation on which the security and future prosperity of the community must ultimately rest.
The sudden and indeed tragic turn of events in the land of
the birth of our Faith5
as an unprecedented and powerful
stimulus to the spirit which animates the members of the
Canadian Bahá’í Community. It must not, indeed it cannot
for a moment, dampen their ardour, deflect them from their
purpose, or weaken their resolve to accomplish the tasks assigned
Conscious of their inescapable, their sacred and multiple responsibilities; spurred on by the realization of the great and varied sacrifices being made, and the vicissitudes experienced, by the great mass of their long-suffering brethren in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land; mindful of the prophecies made by the Centre of the Covenant regarding the spiritual and material destiny of their country; following the noble and immortal example set by the founder6 of their community and by the two Hands of the Cause7 ranking among its foremost members; encouraged by their own splendid achievements in recent years; thankful for the unrestricted freedom enabling them to proclaim, unreservedly and far and wide, the fundamental verities of their Faith; and fully aware of the shortness of the time allotted to them for the performance of their arduous and mighty task, the members of the Canadian Bahá’í Community must arise, at this very hour, and evince such a wholehearted dedication to the mission they have pledged themselves to carry out as to astonish the entire Bahá’í world, and bring everlasting consolation to the hearts of the persecuted followers of the Faith in the land of its birth.
That this community may rise to this occasion, and may befittingly fulfil this glorious mission, and enrich immeasurably the record of its splendid and unforgettable achievements is the object of my constant prayer and the dearest wish of my heart.
Your true brother,
|1.||Maxwell Home, 1548 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec—‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in this house during His visit to Montreal in 1912. It was given to the Canadian Bahá’í community by Hand of the Cause Rúhíyyih Khánum in 1953. [ Back To Reference]|
|2.||Siegfried Schopflocher—known as the “Temple Builder” because of his great contributions to the completion of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the West, appointed a Hand of the Cause of God in 1952, died in Montreal in 1953. For a review of his “numerous, magnificent services” see The Bahá’í World Vol. XII,664–666, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|3.||William Sutherland Maxwell—architect of the Shrine of the Báb, appointed a Hand of the Cause of God in 1951, died in Montreal in 1952. His “saintly life” is described in The Bahá’í World Vol. XII, 657–662, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|4.||Marion Jack—“immortal heroine” and “shining example to pioneers”, who remained at her post in Sofia, Bulgaria from 1930 until her death in 1954. Her imperishable services are recorded in The Bahá’í World Vol. XII, 674–677, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|5.||The resurgence of persecution of the Bahá’í
community in Írán
during 1955 is described in The Bahá’í World |
|6.||May Ellis Maxwell—spiritual mother of the Canadian Bahá’í community, became a believer in 1898, visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa in 1899 and returned to Paris to found the first Bahá’í centre on the European continent, married Sutherland Maxwell and settled in Montreal in 1902, achieved “the priceless honour” of a “martyr’s death” in Argentina in 1940. For a review of the vast range of her contributions to the Faith in Europe and America, see The Bahá’í World Vol. VIII, 631–642, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|7.||Sutherland Maxwell and Siegfried Schopflocher. [ Back To Reference]|