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Letter of 20 June 1953
20 June 1953
To the National Spiritual Assembly
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
The purchase of your national headquarters,1 he feels, was an important milestone in the history of the Faith in Canada, and he hopes that it will be put to good use, during the coming years, by your Assembly. To this institution you will soon be adding the Maxwell Home2 in Montreal, which should be viewed in the nature of a national Shrine, because of its association with the beloved Master, during His visit to Montreal. He sees no objection to having one room in the house being used as a little museum associated with Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell.3 4
He was most happy to hear that all of your goals were achieved. This augurs well for the future of your activities, especially during the Ten Year Plan just launched. He wishes through your body to
Regarding the question you asked him about one of the believers who seems to be flagrantly a homosexual—although to a certain extent we must be forbearing in the matter of people’s moral conduct because of the terrible deterioration in society in general, this does not mean that we can put up indefinitely with conduct which is disgracing the Cause. This person should have it brought to his attention that such acts are condemned by Bahá’u’lláh, and that he must mend his ways, if necessary consult doctors, and make every effort to overcome this affliction, which is corruptive for him and bad for the Cause. If after a period of probation you do not see an improvement, he should have his voting rights taken away. The Guardian does not think, however, that a Bahá’í body should take it upon itself to denounce him to the Authorities unless his conduct borders on insanity.
The Guardian attaches the greatest importance, during this opening year of the Ten Year Campaign, to settling the virgin areas with pioneers. He has informed, or is informing, the other National Assemblies that there is no reason why believers from one country should not fill the goals in other countries. In other words, Canada could receive foreign pioneers for her goals, who would operate under her jurisdiction; likewise, Canadians could go forth
You may be sure that he is praying for your success, and, what is more, he is confident that this young, virile Canadian Community can and will succeed in carrying out its share of the World Spiritual Crusade, so vast and challenging, upon which we are now launched.
With warmest Bahá’í love,
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The brilliant success achieved by the Canadian Bahá’í Community,
marking the triumphant conclusion of the Plan formulated
on the morrow of the emergence of the community as
an independent member of the international Bahá’í Family, is
to be regarded as a milestone of far-reaching importance in
the evolution of the Faith not only in the Dominion of Canada
but throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. The vitality
displayed so strikingly by this youthful community, the exemplary
fidelity demonstrated by its members to the spiritual as
well as administrative principles of the Faith in the conduct of
their manifold activities; the splendid co-operation with their
national and local elected representatives which they have invariably
shown, at every stage in the development of the Plan;
the sacrifices they have repeatedly made; the vigilance and care
which they have exercised while discharging their sacred and
weighty responsibilities; the soundness of judgement, the enthusiasm
and perseverance that have distinguished them in
the pursuance of their tasks—all these have, in recent years,
contributed, in no small measure, to the raising of the prestige
I myself am deeply touched, and feel a profound gratitude for the superb contribution made by this community, still in the early years of its development, to the world-wide progress of the Faith achieved since the inception of the successive Plans undertaken by various National Assemblies for the systematic propagation of the Faith throughout the world.
The great strides which this virile and highly promising community has made in so short a period, over so vast a continent, despite such formidable obstacles, and in the service of so glorious a Cause, fill my heart with confidence that the tasks it has now assumed, on the morrow of the successful termination of the first collective enterprise undertaken in Canadian Bahá’í history, will be consummated in a manner that will redound to the glory of the Faith to which its members are so wholly dedicated.
The Ten Year Plan which your Assembly has now launched, in its capacity as the elected representatives of the Canadian Bahá’í Community—the recognized allies of the chief executors of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Divine Plan—and which constitutes so important a phase of the Global Spiritual Crusade on which the followers of the Faith have embarked, marks the inauguration of the initial stage in the unfoldment of the glorious Mission of this community, a Mission which will enable it to implant, in collaboration with its sister-community in the Great Republic of the West, and with the support of the Latin American Bahá’í Communities associated in the execution of the Divine Plan, the standard of the Faith in all continents of the Globe.
Of all the objectives of this momentous Ten Year Plan, with
which the immediate destinies of this firmly-grounded, fully
consecrated, high-minded, spiritually quickened community
are so closely linked, the purchase of the site of the Mother
Prompt and effective measures must, no matter how great the sacrifice involved, be taken to ensure that, ere the termination of the first two years of the Plan, these two paramount objectives, which constitute the opening phase of the Plan, will have been fully attained. The entire Community must arise, as it has never risen before, to meet the challenge of the present hour. The time fixed for the achievement of the initial victories of the Plan is admittedly brief. The prizes to be won in distant fields, under the most trying circumstances, by the members of a community so youthful, so circumscribed in number and resources, are so precious that none of them can as yet even dimly imagine their transcendent glory. On the homefront, as well as in the far-off islands of the Pacific Ocean, in both the teaching and administrative fields, the Canadian Bahá’í Community must labour incessantly in anticipation of the fulfilment of the inspiring prophecies made by the Centre of the Covenant Who, repeatedly and in unmistakable language, promised to this Community a glorious future, and predicted both the material and spiritual advancement of the nation of which it forms a part.
On the success of this initial stage in the unfoldment of its
Mission in foreign fields—a stage which will witness the departure
of the Canadian pioneers from their homeland, in the
northern regions of the Western Hemisphere, to the South Sea
Islands—must depend the degree to which they will be active
in days to come in other continents of the globe and their neighbouring
islands. As the chosen allies of the chief executors of
the Master’s Divine Plan, they shoulder a responsibility which
is at once staggering, sacred and inescapable. The greater their
exertions, the more abundant will be the outpouring of celestial
grace vouchsafed to them by the Author of the Plan Himself,
Who in His immortal Tablets has more than once assured
Now is the hour to demonstrate to the entire Bahá’í world those qualities which the heroes of God, unfurling in the Western Hemisphere the banners of a World Crusade destined to be carried over the entire surface of the globe, must possess in order to accomplish their exalted Mission. The Canadian Bahá’í Community must stand in the vanguard of this conquering army of Bahá’u’lláh. They must prove themselves increasingly worthy of their high calling as this momentous Crusade steadily unfolds. They must put their entire trust in Him Who guides its destinies from His station on high. They must dedicate themselves heart and soul to the fulfilment of all its objectives without delay, without any exception.
That they may acquit themselves of their task, as befits their high station in this great spiritual adventure, that they may enrich their heritage, and noise abroad the fame of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh through a whole-hearted and valiant participation in this world-girdling spiritual Crusade, is the object of my constant prayer and one of my most cherished hopes.
|1.||The first building purchased for the National Hazíratu’l-Quds (188 St. George Street, Toronto, 1952–53) was unsuitable. So was the Second (539 Mount Pleasant Road, 1955–56). The third building (274 Huron Street, 1956–57) was expropriated. The building at 15 Lola Road, Toronto was acquired in 1957 and served as the National Hazíratu’l-Quds until 1969. [ Back To Reference]|
|2.||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]|
|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]|
|4.||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]|
|5.||The Bahá’í marriage ceremony was first legally recognized in Ontario and British Columbia in 1958. [ Back To Reference]|
|6.||The first Temple site was purchased in 1957 in North York, and replaced by the site in Markham Township in 1969. [ Back To Reference]|