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Messages to Canada

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Canada Publications
  • Pages:
  • 276
Go to printed page GO
Pages 238-244

Letter of 26 June 1956

26 June 1956

To the National Spiritual Assembly

Dear Bahá’í Friends:

The recent news that Anticosti had at last received a pioneer1 was immensely welcome, and enabled the Guardian to take off his list one of the few remaining virgin territories (aside from those under Soviet domination) on the list of countries to be opened to the Faith under the Ten Year Plan.

He hopes that it has been possible to make the arrangements to have Miss Jack’s3 grave built. This is a task which is indeed a precious trust for your Assembly. When the friends realize that her grave will become in the future a place of visitation, they will appreciate the bounty bestowed upon the Canadian Community through being able to claim one of the most distinguished of all pioneers as a member of their Community.

It was a great pleasure to him to have Mr. Raynor,4 a member of your Assembly, as his guest here in the Holy Land, and he feels sure that this contact has forged yet another link between the Canadian Bahá’ís and the World Centre.

He assures all the members of the National Assembly of his loving prayers for the success of your indefatigable labours.

With warm Bahá’í love,

R. Rabbani

P.S.—As regards the question about a person who is mentally ill attending the Feasts, anybody who is well enough mentally to attend a Bahá’í Feast and understand what it is all about is certainly well enough to be a voting member. Only people who are very seriously deranged mentally and confined to institutions or under constant supervision should be deprived of their voting rights.

Regarding your question of applying the sanction of suspension of voting rights to people who marry without the consent of parents, this should be done from now on. The law of the Aqdas is explicit and not open to any ambiguity at all. As long as the parents are alive, the consent must be obtained; it is not conditioned on their relationship to their children. If the whereabouts of the parents is not known legally, in other words, if they are legally dead, then it is not necessary for the children to obtain their consent, obviously. It is not a question of the child not knowing the present whereabouts of its parents, it is a question of a legal thing—if the parents are alive, they must be asked.

As regards the question of alcohol, the Guardian explained this to Mr. Raynor,5 and he feels that his understanding of it is quite correct. The Assemblies must be wise and gentle in dealing with such cases, but at the same time must not tolerate a prolonged and flagrant disregard of the Bahá’í Teachings as regards alcohol.

[From the Guardian:]

Dear and valued co-workers:

The Canadian Bahá’í Community, whose members are so valiantly participating in the furtherance of the World Spiritual Crusade, now claiming the attention of the entire body of followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in all continents of the globe, has ever since the inception of this world-embracing enterprise, proved itself capable of carrying its share of responsibility in the accomplishment of this collective, colossal task, and has rendered services that have enriched the annals of the Faith, not only in a land so dear to the heart of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but in far-off islands and territories which it is the mission of this Community to illuminate and conquer.

Ever since the emergence of this progressive, youthful and dynamic community, as an independent entity, and particularly since the inception of the Ten Year Plan, it has demonstrated, on several occasions, those qualities which alone can provide the guarantee of success in carrying out, as a worthy ally of her sister community in the Great Republic of the West, the sacred and historic Mission assigned to it by the Author of the Tablets of the Divine Plan. The staunchness of the faith of its members, their unyielding resolve, their ceaseless efforts, their willingness to sacrifice, their exemplary loyalty, their steadfast courage, have, time and again, been strikingly displayed, and served to fortify the hopes which I have always cherished for their future destiny.

The vastness of the field in which this firmly knit, irresistibly advancing, steadily consolidating community now operates, stretching as it does from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboards, and touching, on the one hand, the fringes of the Arctic Region, and extending, on the other, as far as the islands of the South Pacific, contrasts with the extremely restricted area, in which, for so many years, and until recently, the administrative activities of this community were confined. The diversity and multiplicity of the enterprises in which it finds itself now engaged, the manner in which it is consolidating its strength, enlarging its membership, safeguarding the unity of its members, and noising abroad its fame, may be regarded as additional evidences of its spiritual vigour, and of its rapid rise to maturity at so significant a period in the evolution of the Faith throughout the Western Hemisphere.

At this crucial hour, when the Plan to which this highly promising community stands committed is entering on the third phase in its unfoldment, the responsibilities confronting its members are at once manifold, pressing and inescapable. The situation on the homefront, so extensive and so varied in character, calls for careful consideration and energetic action on the part of your Assembly. The steady increase in the number of those enlisted under the banner of the Faith must be paralleled by a multiplication of Assemblies, groups and isolated centres. The incorporation of all firmly established Assemblies must simultaneously be accelerated. The virgin areas now opened, and particularly Anticosti, Greenland, Iceland and Franklin, as well as those territories deprived recently of the benefits of a resident pioneer, must be made the object of the special attention and solicitude of your Assembly, for upon the preservation of these hard-won prizes must depend the ultimate triumph of this community’s collective and historic task, and the enhancement of the prestige it has deservedly won in recent years throughout the Bahá’í world.

Of equal importance is the strenuous yet highly meritorious obligation to add, steadily and rapidly, to the number of the American Indian and Eskimo adherents of the Faith, and to ensure their active participation in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity—a task so clearly emphasized by the Pen of the Centre of the Covenant, and in the consummation of which the Canadian Bahá’í Community is destined to play so conspicuous a part.

Above all, the utmost endeavour should be exerted by your Assembly to familiarize the newly enrolled believers with the fundamental and spiritual verities of the Faith, and with the origins, the aims and purposes, as well as the processes of a divinely appointed Administrative Order, to acquaint them more fully with the history of the Faith, to instil in them a deeper understanding of the Covenants of both Bahá’u’lláh and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to enrich their spiritual life, to rouse them to a greater effort and a closer participation in both the teaching of the Faith and the administration of its activities, and to inspire them to make the necessary sacrifices for the furtherance of its vital interests. For as the body of the avowed supporters of the Faith is enlarged, and the basis of the structure of its Administrative Order is broadened, and the fame of the rising community spreads far and wide, a parallel progress must be achieved, if the fruits already garnered are to endure, in the spiritual quickening of its members and the deepening of their inner life.

The duties incumbent upon this community, and particularly its elected national representatives, multiply with every passing day. Heavy is the burden they carry. Rich and immense are the possibilities stretching before them. Priceless are the rewards which a befitting discharge of their multiple responsibilities must bring in its wake. Boundless are the favours and bestowals which a loving and watchful Providence is ready to confer upon those who will arise to meet the challenge of the present hour.

May the members of this community, as well as its elected representatives, consecrate themselves anew to the mission which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has conferred upon them, and immortalize their stewardship to the Faith of His Father through acts which future generations will unanimously acclaim and for which they will feel eternally grateful.


1.Mary Zabolotny (McCulloch)—Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for Anticosti Island (1956), passed away 1996.  [ Back To Reference]
2.Iceland appears to have been visited first by Amelia Collins in 1924. Martha Root spent a month in Iceland in 1935.  [ Back To Reference]
3.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]
4.Allan Raynor—member of the National Spiritual Assembly 1954–60 and 1963–64, passed away in 1979. See The Bahá’í World Vol. XVIII, 696–698, In Memoriam.  [ Back To Reference]
5.Allan Raynor—member of the National Spiritual Assembly 1954–60 and 1963–64, passed away in 1979. See The Bahá’í World Vol. XVIII, 696–698, In Memoriam.  [ Back To Reference]