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Messages to Canada

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Canada Publications
  • Pages:
  • 276
Go to printed page GO
Pages 105-110

Letter of 4 November 1948

4 November 1948

To the National Spiritual Assembly

Dear Bahá’í Sister:1

He urges you to keep in close touch with him, and assures you that you, and your labours, are very dear to his heart, and he is ardently praying for your success in every field of your manifold activities.

With warm Bahá’í love,

R. Rabbani

P.S. Unfortunately your letter was not received in time to cable your October 14th meeting an answer.

[From the Guardian:]

Dear and valued co-workers:

I hail with a joyous heart and confident spirit the truly compelling and almost simultaneous evidences of the creative, the irresistible power of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh as witnessed by the formation of the first Canadian National Bahá’í Assembly and the inauguration of the Five Year Plan, designed to orient its members toward and canalize the energies of the entire Canadian Bahá’í Community in support of the immediate tasks lying before them. So auspicious a beginning, in the life of a community attaining adulthood, under the influence of the processes set in motion as the result of the progressive unfoldment of the Divine Plan, in a territory of such vast dimensions, blessed through both the mighty utterances, and the personal visit of the One Who fostered it from the hour of its birth, and Whose Plan enabled it to reach maturity, may well be regarded as one of the most momentous happenings immortalizing the opening years of the second Bahá’í Century.

The responsibility shouldered by an institution ranking as one of the sustaining pillars of the future Universal House of Justice is indeed staggering. The Plan entrusted to its infant hands is, in both its magnitude and implications tremendously vast. The anxieties, the strenuous exertions attendant upon the proper guidance, the effectual development and the sound consolidation of a community emerging into independent national existence, are inevitably trying. The numerical strength of that community, the immensity of the area serving as the field for the operation of its Plan, the meagerness of the resources now at its disposal, the relative inexperience of its newly-recruited members, the perils overhanging the territory in which they reside in the event of a future global conflict, the intensity of opposition which the unfoldment of its mission may provoke in the strongholds of religious orthodoxy inimical to the liberalizing influences of the Faith it represents—all these offer a challenge at once severe, inescapable and soul uplifting.

The eyes of its twin-sister community in the North American continent, which assisted it in achieving its independence, are fixed upon it, eager to beho1d, and ready to aid it in its march to glory. Its sister communities in Latin America, whose coming of age is as yet unattained, watch with mingled curiosity and envy, its first strides along the steep path which they themselves are soon to tread. Other sister communities in the European, African, Asiatic and Australian continents, some of venerable age, others rich in experience, and resources, still others tried and tested by the fires of persecution, observe with keen anticipation in their hearts and benediction on their lips, the manner in which this youngest recruit to their ranks will launch upon its career, the resolution with which it will face its problems, the spirit which will animate it in its battles and the stupendousness of the efforts required to win its victories. Above and beyond them the Spirit of a Master Who nursed it in its infancy and to Whose Plan it now has consecrated its mature energies, overshadows it with that self-same solicitude that called it into existence, that stimulated His tender care in its infancy, that inspired His written promises, that prompted His lavish praise, that impelled Him to cast the radiance of His person, in the evening of His life, on its mother city,2 and induced Him, ere His passing, to bequeath to it so rich a legacy in what may be regarded as one of the mightiest repositories of His last wishes. No one, of the galaxy of immortal heroes, now gathered to the glory of Bahá’u’lláh, can contemplate with greater delight the advances which this community has made, or intercede with greater efficacy on its behalf than she3 who has won the peerless title of the Mother of that community, the initial phase of whose career was signalized by the founding of the mother community in the European continent, and the conclusion of which was crowned by a death cementing the spiritual bonds now indissolubly uniting the North and South American continents.

The Five Year Plan, now set in motion, must under no circumstances be allowed to lag behind its schedule. A befitting start should be made in the execution of the Plan in all its aspects. The initial steps should be relentlessly followed by additional measures designed to hasten the incorporation of your Assembly, to accelerate the multiplication of Local Assemblies, groups and isolated centres, throughout the Provinces of the Dominion, to insure the stability of the outpost of the Faith which must be established in Newfoundland, and to incorporate a steadily growing element, representative of both the Indian and Eskimo races, into the life of the community.

Obstacles, however formidable, will have to be determinedly surmounted. Any reverses that sooner or later may be suffered should be met with stoic fortitude, and speedily offset by victories in other fields. The glorious vision now unveiled to your eyes must never be dimmed. The illuminating promises enshrined in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets should not be forgotten for a moment. The quality of the success already achieved by so small a number, over so extensive a field, in so brief a period, at so precarious an hour in the destinies of mankind, should spur on the elected representatives of this now fully fledged community to achieve in as short a period, over still more extensive an area, and despite a severer crisis than any as yet encountered, victories more abiding in their merit and more conspicuous in their brilliance than any as yet won in the service and for the glory of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.

Your true brother,


1.Laura Davis—Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, 1948–54, passed away 1990.  [ Back To Reference]
2.The city of Montreal, Quebec, visited by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá August 30—September 12, 1912.  [ Back To Reference]
3.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]