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Messages to Canada

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Canada Publications
  • Pages:
  • 276
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Pages 262-268

Letter of 18 July 1957

18 July 1957

To the National Spiritual Assembly

Dear Bahá’í Sister:

As regards the matter of those who have withdrawn from the Faith on the west coast: as you know, no one has the right to excommunicate anybody except the Guardian of the Faith, himself. Those people who have withdrawn from the Faith, though critical of it and disgruntled, are not necessarily Covenant-breakers. If they were associating with Ahmad Sohrab1 and upholding his claims actively, then they would come into an entirely different category. If this is the case, you should inform the Guardian, but otherwise the friends should be advised to just leave these people alone, for their influence can be nothing but negative and destructive, and the less they breathe the breath, so to speak, of those who have turned their back on the light of this Faith, the better.

The work in the north should likewise be consolidated, and every effort made to get more pioneers to join those heroic souls already labouring in such an infertile field. This applies equally to Labrador and Greenland, where Bill Carr,3 the lone Canadian pioneer, is demonstrating the Bahá’í spirit in such an exemplary manner. It is hard for the friends to appreciate, when they are isolated in one of these goal territories, and see that they are making no progress in teaching others, are living in inhospitable climes for the most part, and are lonesome for Bahá’í companionship and activity, that they represent a force for good, that they are like a light-house of Bahá’u’lláh shining at a strategic point and casting its beam out into the darkness. This is why he so consistently urges these pioneers not to abandon their posts. Apropos of this, he hopes that it will again be possible in the near future to get someone into Anticosti. It is a great pity that the friend4 who went there could not remain.

The beloved Guardian sends all the members of your Assembly his loving greetings and assures you all of his ardent prayers for your success.

With warm Bahá’í love,

R. Rabbani

[From the Guardian:]

Dear and valued co-workers:

The opening of the second year of the third phase of the Ten Year Bahá’í spiritual Crusade presents the entire Canadian Bahá’í Community, and, particularly, its elected representatives, with an opportunity, and brings them face to face with a challenge, unique since its inception over half a century ago.

The achievements that have distinguished the record of its stewardship, ever since its founding, and particularly since the launching of the World Bahá’í Crusade, both on the homefront and beyond its confines, have been such as to ennoble the annals of the Faith to which it is so whole-heartedly dedicated, and to arouse in the hearts of all those who have watched, throughout succeeding decades, its rise, its emergence into independent existence, and its rapid consolidation, feelings of profound admiration, of pride and of thankfulness.

The distance that has been traversed, in the course of the four brief years since the inauguration of the Ten Year Plan, by a community, still highly restricted in numbers and circumscribed in resources, and faced with tremendous responsibilities, as a result of the colossal task it has willingly shouldered, is admittedly great, and augurs well for its further advancement along the path traced for it by the pen of the Centre of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant in His immortal Tablets.5

The utmost care and vigilance, however, should be exercised by this youthful and dynamic community, so richly laden with the prizes it has so deservedly won, lest the momentum, so painstakingly gained in recent years, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity, be lost or reduced. The standard of dedication and of efficiency, attained, while pursuing the goals it has pledged itself to achieve, must never be allowed, through apathy, neglect or faint-heartedness, to be lowered. The vision that has fired its members, on the occasion of the centenary celebrations which witnessed the launching of the Ten Year Plan must, no matter how prolonged or arduous the task, never grow dim. Their unswerving fidelity to the Covenant established by the Author of their Faith, and their attachment to the ideals and precepts enshrined in His Revelation, should, under no circumstances, no matter how active and subtle the machinations of its enemies, both within and without, be weakened. The momentous and highly exacting task, initiated far beyond the confines of their homeland—a task which posterity will recognize as the opening chapter of their glorious Mission overseas—must be pursued with undiminished diligence, nay with redoubled zeal, and renewed determination and dedication. The no less vital obligation to expand, and consolidate the manifold activities conducted on the homefront, from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboard, and from the northern confines of the Great Republic of the West to the fringes of the Arctic Ocean, must be faithfully discharged. The setbacks and difficulties that have, unexpectedly and most unfortunately, been recently experienced in connection with the acquisition of both the national Hazíratu’l-Quds and the site of the future Mother Temple of Canada, must be faced with resolution and vigour, and a definite and permanent solution be found which will ensure the full attainment of these twofold primary objectives. The long overdue conversion of the American Indians, the Eskimos and French Canadians, as well as the representatives of other minorities permanently residing within the borders of that vast Dominion, must receive, in the months immediately ahead, such an impetus as to astonish and stimulate the members of all Bahá’í communities throughout the length and breadth of the Western Hemisphere. The independent character of the Faith they profess and champion must, moreover, be fully vindicated through a closer adherence, on the part of the rank and file of the believers, to its distinguishing tenets and precepts, as well as through a fuller recognition by the civil authorities6 concerned of the Bahá’í Marriage Certificate and of the Bahá’í Holy Days. The integrity of the fundamental teachings of the Faith, its security, the healthy and steady development, and ultimate fruition, of its nascent institutions, must, above all, be ensured and safeguarded, for upon these will depend the consummation of the Mission with which the Author of the Tablet of the Divine Plan has chosen to entrust them.

The few remaining years, separating the steadfast and high-minded members of the Canadian Bahá’í Community, striving so assiduously to achieve their goals, from the time fixed for the termination of a swiftly unfolding Crusade, are rapidly slipping by. A community which, ever since its inception, has, through the instrumentality of its most distinguished members, and particularly its founder7 and those nearest to her, as well as a number of her spiritual children and associates, won such prizes at the World Centre of the Faith, in Latin America, in Europe, in Africa and in the Pacific area—such a community, at this crucial hour, cannot afford to either stand still, falter or hesitate. As this World Crusade sweeps majestically forward and draws nearer to its close, exploits, as superb as those its sons and daughters have successively achieved in widely scattered areas of the globe, must continue to distinguish and ennoble the imperishable record of its services.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s prophetic words regarding the future of its homeland, spiritually as well as materially—the initial evidences of which are becoming more apparent every day, must not be lost sight of for a moment, however exacting and all-absorbing the strenuous task ahead, however complex the problems its prosecution involves, however burdensome the preoccupations which it must needs engender.

Afire with that same love that burned so brightly in the hearts of its earliest pioneers, holding fast to the strong cord of the spiritual precepts and administrative principles of the Faith it bas so whole-heartedly espoused, confident of its ability to achieve, in its entirety, the Mission entrusted to it by the Author of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, this community must forge ahead, with undeviating loyalty, with indomitable courage, with unbreakable unity, and exemplary consecration, striving to scale loftier heights, and widening constantly the range of its operations, on the American mainland as well as in neighbouring and distant islands, until each and every objective of its allotted task has been triumphantly attained.


1.Ahmad Sohrab—former secretary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, declared a Covenant-breaker by the Guardian, died 1958.  [ Back To Reference]
2.Greta Jankko—Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for the Marquesas Islands (1954). See The Bahá’í World Vol. XV, 543–545, In Memoriam.  [ Back To Reference]
3.William Carr—Canadian pioneer to Thule Air Base, Greenland 1955–72. From 1958 to 1963 Mrs. Kaya Holck, a Danish believer, pioneered among the Greenlanders.  [ Back To Reference]
4.Mary Zabolotny (McCulloch)—Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for Anticosti Island (1956), passed away 1996.  [ Back To Reference]
5.The Tablets of the Divine Plan, revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1916–17, and addressed severally to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, constitute the authority for the successive Plans inaugurated by the Guardian for the spread of the Faith and the establishment of its Institutions throughout the world.  [ Back To Reference]
6.The decision by the Superior Court in Montreal in 1958 which recognized the independent character of the Bahá’í Faith and exempted the Bahá’í Shrine from taxation is recorded in The Bahá’í World Vol. XIII, 662–664.  [ Back To Reference]
7.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]