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Letter of 8 June 1952
8 June 1952
To the National Spiritual Assembly
Dear Bahá’í Friends:
Your letters dated October 9, 1951, signed by John A. Robarts, 1 November 28, 1951, February 15, March 17 and April 19, 1952, signed by Laura R. Davis2 and May 15, 1952 signed by Ross Woodman,3 with their various enclosures, have been received,
He was very happy to hear that the Convention had been such a success, and above all, that the delegates had realized how urgent are the teaching tasks still facing the Canadian Community. He hopes that they will carry back to their local Communities a sense of this urgency, and stimulate the friends to make a heroic last effort and succeed. They say success breeds success; and there can be no doubt that, upon the accomplishment of the present goals must depend the work in the immediate future—both the degree of spiritual help that will be vouchsafed by God, and the number of tasks that will be entrusted to the Canadian Bahá’ís. He feels sure that if the believers become sufficiently aroused to an awareness of the critical nature of the coming months, they will take the necessary action, however great the sacrifice involved.
In regard to the question you asked about the holding of the Canadian Convention in Wilmette, this would not be possible, as the National Body must hold its Convention in its own country. He suggests, however, that you make an effort to coordinate the dates in such a way that the friends can later proceed to Wilmette for the Intercontinental Teaching Conference and the dedication of the Temple. As long as it is held within the Ridván period, the dates can be arranged any way that suits your convenience, and of course the Convention can be convened any place in Canada your Assembly decides upon, even on the American frontier at a point en route to Chicago.
The Guardian was most happy to hear of the excellent work some of the Bahá’ís are doing with the Eskimos and the Indians, and considers their spirit most exemplary. They are rendering a far greater service than they, themselves, are aware of, the fruits of which will be seen, not only in Canada, but because of their repercussions, in other countries where primitive populations must be taught.
The personality of the Bahá’í who accepts this invitation should be carefully considered, because to be a guest of people in a different climate and environment, of a different nationality and speaking a different language, so far away, might be a little trying, and of course the impression that this Bahá’í creates will be of infinite importance to the Faith in its future development in Greenland. Whether ... makes the sacrifice and goes, or some other individual is chosen, he urges your Assembly to above all consider this matter tactfully and from the human standpoint, rather than the religious one, if one can put it that way.
Your Assembly must decide, as the Guardian already told dear Mr. Schopflocher5 when he was here, upon the advisability of maintaining the Laurentian School,6 in an objective spirit. The Guardian can only outline to you the principle, which is that Bahá’í funds should not be invested in building up a place that has dear associations for a number of the friends, but is not going to really serve a large group of the believers. We are all familiar with the tremendous sums that have gone into the upkeep of Green Acre over the years, without so far bringing returns commensurate with the investment of our limited Bahá’í monies. However Green Acre, through its close association with the Master, undoubtedly has historic importance, and for this reason cannot be abandoned.
He would be very happy to have the National Assembly maintain the grave of dear Sutherland Maxwell.7 His association, not only with Canada and the inception of the Faith there, but with the World Centre and the Shrine of the Báb, naturally endears him to
He feels that the Canadian Community, old in the Northern Hemisphere, but young in its independence, is showing great promise, and he is proud of it and of the spirit that animates both its National Assembly and its members. He also feels confident it will distinguish itself, not only during the coming year, but during the next ten years before our Most Great Jubilee falls due in 1963.
With warm Bahá’í love,
P.S.—Regarding your question concerning St. John’s, Newfoundland and the believers living outside the town limits: no exception to the general rule can be made in this case.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The Plan, with which the immediate destinies of the valiant,
newly emerged, independent, highly promising Canadian
Bahá’í Community are linked is, as it approaches its closing
stage, passing through a very critical period in its unfoldment.
Proclaiming as it does the formal association of the second
Bahá’í community to attain an independent status in the Western
Hemisphere with its sister communities who, in various
parts of the Bahá’í world, are prosecuting specific Plans designed
to foster their organic development, signalizing the
alignment of this community as the sole ally of the Chief Executors
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Master Plan, this collective fate-laden
enterprise upon which this youthful and virile member of the
World Bahá’í Family has so whole-heartedly and enthusiastically
launched—an enterprise on the successful consummation
of which the effective initiation of its glorious mission,
far beyond the borders of the Dominion of Canada, must ultimately
depend—such an enterprise, however vast the field in
which it operates, and no matter how circumscribed the resources
of the small band of stalwart pioneers engaged in its
In Newfoundland, in Greenland, among the Eskimos and Indians, through the incorporation of its National Assembly, the immediate objectives have been practically attained. The attention of the entire community must, in the remaining months ahead, be focused on the dire necessity of multiplying, at whatever cost, the number of pioneers, the rapid formation of groups, and the conversion of groups into Assemblies, so that the complete and total success of the Plan may be assured, and a triumphant community may step forward, confident and unencumbered by any liabilities, into a vast arena of service, prosecute a still more glorious mission, and win still mightier victories.
While the energy of this community is being expended on
the conduct of this fateful undertaking, marking the baptism
of this community, a collateral effort must, owing to unforeseen
circumstances, be exerted for the establishment of an
institution which, though not an integral part of the Plan formulated
for that community, is nonetheless regarded as indispensable
owing to its emergence into an independent existence,
and the necessity of its following the lead of its sister-communities
in East and West, which have, at various stages
in their development, adopted this vital measure for the consolidation
of their national institutions and the raising of the
prestige of the Faith in their respective countries. The selection
of the city to serve as the seat of the national Hazíratu’l-Quds
in the Dominion of Canada; the purchase of either a plot
to serve as a site for the construction of this Edifice, or, preferably,
of a building to serve as a provisional national administrative
headquarters for a rising, steadily expanding community;
the association of all other National Assemblies throughout
the Bahá’í world in contributing towards this highly meritorious
enterprise; my own association with The Bahá’ís the
world over in providing for the early emergence of such a Centre
towards which the manifold activities initiated throughout
In conjunction with the various National Administrative Headquarters purchased or constructed, in the course of the last three decades, in five continents of the globe, and for the most part in the capital cities of several countries in the Eastern Hemisphere, this latest Edifice in the chain of Bahá’í national institutions linking five continents will, no doubt, serve to enhance the growing prestige of a world-wide Faith and consolidate the foundations of its administrative Structure. From far-off Sydney, on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean, and successively through New Delhi in the heart of the Indian subcontinent, Tihran, the capital of Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, Baghdad, the Iraqi capital enshrining His most holy House, Cairo, the Egyptian capital, the admitted centre of both the Arab and Muslim worlds, the city of Frankfurt in the heart of both Germany and of the European continent, and as far as the heart of the North American continent and in the neighborhood of the first Bahá’í centre established in the Western Hemisphere, this chain of Bahá’í bastions of a world-encircling Order, must be further extended through an additional link to be forged in the northern part of the Western Hemisphere, and its subsequent prolongation into Latin America as far as the Republics of South America.
One more word in conclusion. The passing, at this juncture,
of one who, through a long career of distinguished service
Inspired by the example and the accomplishments of those of its members who have distinguished themselves in the Holy Land, on the European continent and in both the northern and southern continents of the Western Hemisphere, this community must forge on, with added determination, with increasing dedication, with thanksgiving and redoubled zeal, on the road leading it to a still more glorious destiny in the years immediately ahead. That it may press forward, conquer still greater heights, plumb greater depths of consecration, spread wider and wider the fame of the Cause of God is the cherished desire of my heart and the object of my constant supplication.
|1.||John and Audrey Robarts—John was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly from 1948–53. In 1953 they became Knights of Bahá’u’lláh when they pioneered to Bechuanaland. In 1957 John Robarts was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God. He passed away in Rawdon, Quebec in 1991. See The Bahá’í World Vol. XX, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|2.||Laura Davis—Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, 1948–54, passed away 1990. [ Back To Reference]|
|3.||Ross Woodman—member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, 1948–51, 1952–53. [ Back To Reference]|
|4.||Dr. Ali Kuli Khan—a Persian believer who lived in the United States and, amongst many other services, translated the Bahá’í Writings into English. More details may be found in The Bahá’í World Vol. XIV, 351–353, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|5.||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]|
|6.||Laurentian Bahá’í School, near Beaulac, Quebec—founded 1946, transferred in 1949 to the National Spiritual Assembly, the first national endowment. [ Back To Reference]|
|7.||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]|
|8.||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]|
|9.||Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum Rabbani (Mary Maxwell)—daughter of May and Sutherland Maxwell, became the wife of Shoghi Effendi in 1937, appointed a Hand of the Cause of God in 1952. [ Back To Reference]|
|10.||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]|