Thursday, September 16, 2010

 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s situation prior to His leaving the Holy Land in 1910 for His Western Travels.

Visitors from the West!

 American Bahá’ís in the earliest days -- 

    Louisa A. Moore, to whom ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave the name Livá (Banner)—Banner of the Cause—and  whom  the Guardian of the Faith designated ‘the mother teacher of the West’, was another distinguished member of the group of Bahá’ís on the American continent—a group that included such outstanding women and men as Helen S. Goodall, Isabella D. Brittingham, Lillian F. Kappes, Arthur P. Dodge, Dr. Edward Getsinger, Howard MacNutt, Paul K. Dealy, Chester I. Thatcher.

    Edward Getsinger married Louisa Moore who came to be known as Lua Getsinger. This notable and devoted woman was truly a torchbearer. [She, along with her husband, Edward, heard of the Faith in  1896 and embraced it in 1897.] Among those who heard of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh from Lua Getsinger, and who, in their turn, shone in its service, was May Ellis Bolles, young in years, endowed with wisdom and insight.  Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, the wife of Senator George F. Hearst, also heard of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh from Lua Getsinger.

           In 1898 Mrs. Hearst decided to go to the Holy Land to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She asked a number of Bahá’ís to accompany her on this historic pilgrimage. Edward and Lua Getsinger and Dr Ibráhím Khayru’lláh, together with his wife, were among those invited by Phoebe Hearst. 

    In Paris a number of Americans who lived in the French capital joined the pilgrims. Among them were two nieces of Mrs. Hearst, Mrs. Thornburgh and her daughter Miriam Thornburgh-Cropper, the first Bahá’í  of 
the British Isles (though not the first British Bahá’í), also May Bolles. There were further additions in Egypt, making a total of fifteen.  Because of the exigencies of the time they divided themselves into three groups.  The first arrived at ‘Akká on December 10, 1898. 

    The Hand of the Cause H. M. Balyuzi wrote: This was a historic day in the annals of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. It was also a day unparalleled in the chronicles of the Christian West. Never before had the East, where the Manifestation of God had always appeared, witnessed men and women of the West, wishing to offer their homage, come to the doors of the One to whom the Manifestation of  God had entrusted His authority. Never before had the Center of the Covenant of a Manifestation of God stood guard, thus invincible, over the integrity of the Faith.

    It was the first time that Bahá’ís raised up in the Christian West were coming face to face with the Master.
    (H. M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Center of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh,  pp 67-68, George Ronald.)

Arrival of  visitors from the West

1898 - Last Days of—

         The arrival of 15 visitors from America to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the last days of 1898 dramatically changed 
the development of the Bahá’í Faith when they returned to the West. Shoghi Effendi describes this journey as follows:

    “The return of these God-intoxicated pilgrims,... was the signal for an outburst of systematic and sustained activity,   which, as it gathered momentum, and spread its ramification over Western Europe and the states and provinces of the North American continent, grew to so great a scale that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself resolved that, as soon as He should be released from His prolonged confinement in ‘Akká, He would undertake a personal mission to the West. (Shoghi Effendi, p. 259,  God Passes By, © 1944 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States)

 1907:  Thorton Chase, Chicago, who embraced the Faith in 1894,  visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akká accompanied by young Carl Scheffler, age 17, Arthur Agnew , Mary Agnew, Arthur’s wife, and their son Ruhullah, named by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá after the young martyr Varqá. Mr. Chase, Mr. Agnew, and Mr. Scheffler belonged to a group of men in Chicago who regularly met for lunch in downtown Chicago to discuss the Faith.     (Thorton Chase,
p. viii,  In Galilee,  © 1985, Kalimat Press. )

 Carl Scheffler, speaking to a group in the Chicago area as an adult said that he had to be hidden in a laundry cart on one occasion in order to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akká. (Personal note - jwc)

Where did ‘Abdu’l-Bahá live 1900 - 1910? 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residences in the 1900’s - 1910:

 January 1901 - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was not yet confined to the city limits of ‘Akká (He was living in Haifa.)  
End of January Ethel Rosenberg visited ‘Abdul-Baha in Haifa. She left Haifa in April.. 
    (O. Z.Whitehead, p. 56, Some Early Bahá’ís of the West, © O. Z. Whitehead, 1976, George Ronald.)

August 20, 1901 - the  Governor of ‘Akká informed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that He and His brothers, by the decree of Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid, would now be strictly confined within the city limits of ‘Akká. (ibid) 
April 1904, early in April, Ethel Rosenberg made a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Laura Clifford Barney, a brilliant young American Bahá’í who was living in Paris went with her. For eight months Ethel stayed there as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s guest. 

1904, 1905, 1906— Laura Clifford Barney visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akká during which time she made notes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s answers to her questions about the Faith. He spoke with her in the House of ‘Abdu’llah Pasha.  Later she brought her notes to a form that could be published although that was not her original intention.  The Bahá’í world treasures this collection known as Some Answered Questions.

January 1908:  the Young Turks made their successful revolt. On July 23rd that year their Central Committee issued a decree that forced Sultan ‘Abadu’l-Hamid to restore within twenty-four hours the constitution which he had suspended and to release all political and religions prisoners.  In spite of these events the hostile officials in ‘Akka refused to release ‘Abdu’l-Bahá until in answer to their telegram instructions came from Constantinople to do so.  (O. Z.Whitehead, p. 58, Some Early Bahá’ís of the West, © O. Z. Whitehead, 1976, George Ronald.)

1908:   When freed from prison ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set out to assist the friends in Ishqabad with their plans to build a House of Worship, the first Bahá’í temple in the world.  He gave detailed guidance regarding gardens and architectural features.  This was in keeping with His chief world objectives.  

1909.  Although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was free, the Master had not yet left ‘Akka to live in Haifa. (ibid)
However, during the year He was able to build a mausoleum on Mt. Carmel marking the resting-place of the Báb, one of His three world objectives.  

Chief world objectives of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  “As to the three aims which Shoghi Effendi has stated in his America and the Most Great Piece to have been the chief objectives of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’is ministry, it should be pointed out that the first was the establishment of the Cause in America; the erection of the Bahá’í Temple in Ishqábád, and the building on Mt.Carmel of a mausoleum marking the resting-place of the Báb were the two remaining ones.”  ( Shoghi Effendi, p. 87, Directives from the Guardian, India/Hawaii, 1973 edition.)

1909-1910:  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gradually moves His family from ‘Akká to Haifa. His street address in Haifa was to become #9 Haparsim St.  which in the Hebrew language means “The Persian Street.”   In late summer in 1910 He left suddenly for Egypt. 

From John Conkling in Texas, with gratitude for his sharing the fruits of his research with us.

100 years ago Abdul-Baha  visiting New York and other country

Priceless eyewitness accounts, written records of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's addresses,
and newspapers as well as magazine articles published in a number of volumes constitute a thorough chronicle of the Master's 1912 travels to and through the United States and Canada.


[See article]

The Master did not "tour" the country, He deliberately chose New York as the hub of His travels as He pointed out: "I have always returned to New York, because I wished New York to advance greatly…" Consequently, 'Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in New York City was the longest in one place: 85 days out of 239 in the country. The length of this sojourn and the demanding schedule that He engaged in while in the city are further evidence of the attention the Master bestowed on this community.

'Abdu'l-Bahá found the New York of 1912 to be a place of tolerance by comparison with other racially segregated societies and planned the first Bahá'í interracial marriage to take place here. This was an event of great significance at the time, confirming the Master's statement that interracial marriages are "a service to humanity."

      New York City welcomed 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Religious congregations, peace societies, and universities vied to invite Him. Bahá'ís and others alike, attracted by His love and wisdom, followed the Master from place to place.

      The chronology of the visit of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to New York and the United States is primarily based on two sources: The Diary of Mahmud of Zarkan * and The Diary of Juliet Thompson, from the 1947 version annotated by Miss Thompson.**

Juliet Thompson, one of the early New York City Bahá'ís, was a renowned portrait painter. Her obituary, published in the New York Times, mentions that she "painted the portrait of President Woodrow Wilson and his Cabinet," among other celebrities. In 1909 Miss Thompson spent two months in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's household in the Holy Land and was privileged to be called by Him "the sister" of His own daughter. In 1911, she was called to meet the Master in Switzerland and she was almost every day at His home in New York.

      Juliet Thompson's diary stands out as a phenomenon, unique in the history of religion. In this candid and vibrant testimony, we experience the vicissitudes of a passionate and sincere woman's spiritual experience. Juliet as a painter and a writer brings to life in perceptive details the scenes surrounding 'Abdu'l-Bahá and succeeds in making us feel the reality of the extraordinary spiritual power of One Whom Bahá'u'lláh hailed as "The Mystery of God.

 In 1911, 'Abdu'l-Bahá made His first historic trip to Europe, then He returned to Egypt, in Ramleh, a suburb of Alexandria, until the spring of 1912. On March 25, the Master and His retinue boarded the S.S. Cedric in Alexandria, heading for the United States. The American Bahá'ís had sent thousands of dollars for His journey, urging Him to leave the Cedric in Italy and travel to England to sail on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. But the Master returned the money for charity and continued His voyage on the Cedric.
                        Abdul-Baha  aboard SS Celtic LEAVING USA
  Twenty five years later, a woman who as a child had traveled on the Cedric told a Bahá'í that she had never forgotten her personal encounter with the Master. "A glance that burned" into her soul and frightened her, lest she had displeased Him, and the kindly smile which released her "from terror." She recalled that everyone had remarked about "His majestic bearing, His kingly walk, and above all the strange white light that followed Him everywhere." 



      The momentous arrival of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York City occurred on the morning of April 11, 1912. On the tugboat that met the ship bringing 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His entourage to this country were newspaper reporters, among them Wendell Phillips Dodge of the New York City News Association. Mr. Dodge gives an account of the appearance and remarks of the Master:

      "His face was light itself… He is a man of medium height, though at first sight he seemed to be taller… As he paced the deck, talking to reporters, he appeared alert and active in every movement, his head thrown back and splendidly poised upon his broad shoulders most of the time… When the ship was abreast the Statue of Liberty, standing erect and facing it, 'Abdu'l-Bahá held his arms wide apart in salutation and said, 'There is the New World's symbol of liberty and freedom. After being forty years a prisoner, I can tell you freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition… When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed a release.'… Going up the river, gazing in a look of bewildered amazement… at the downtown skyscrapers, the "Wise Man out of the East" remarked: "There are the minarets of the Western world's commerce and industry.' "

      By the time the S.S. Cedric docked, a crowd of Bahá'ís had been waiting for hours, eager to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá. However, one of the American believers, Mr. Edward Kinney* was called forth to board the ship, and he returned with a message from the Master that He would meet the friends at the home of Mr. Kinney at four o'clock.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá and His entourage were driven from the ship to the Hotel Ansonia, Broadway and 73rd Street, His headquarters for the next nine days of incredibly intense activities. After resting and having a cup of tea, He was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, where hundreds of Bahá'ís had gathered. "Almost everyone was weeping just at the sight of Him." The Master addressed a warm welcome to all, then had a few words with each one.

      *Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Carrie Kinney, their two children, Juliet Thompson and a friend had been on an eight-month pilgrimage in Akka in 1909 and had offered their home to the Master. "They spared neither time nor effort or money to have everything as well arranged for 'Abdu'l-Bahá as possible during His sojourn in New York City." Shoghi Effendi called Mr. and Mrs. Kinney "Pillars of the Faith in the City of the Covenant" and "Pillars of the Cause of God." Bahá'í World XII, pp. 678-9; XIII, p.865.



      'Abdu'l-Bahá deplored the racial segregation prevalent in the United States and He "strongly urged the friends to associate with each other in the utmost joy and happiness." He called for such a gathering, and it took place Wednesday, April 17, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney, where Bahá'ís and their friends of both the black and white races met in unity. He prepared and served the meal Himself, speaking of the human family as "a garden of flowers of various hues." The Master was most happy and the spirit of the friends was high. It was felt that this was a landmark in the city. This memorable event was followed by a public address at the hotel.

      While pouring out love to everyone, expounding on the Teachings of the Faith, and traveling from place to place in the city, 'Abdu'l-Bahá's humaneness was always apparent. He often showed His emotions, He laughed, He wept. During a talk at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall L. Emery, He was so anguished in His recollection of the sufferings of Bahá'u'lláh that the entire audience was moved to tears.

      Friday, April 19 was a very busy day for the Master and the friends.

      In the early afternoon, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been invited to attend a play at the Little Theater, "The Terrible Meek," depicting the Crucifixion of Christ, and the Master said to have wept along with the audience.

      At 5 pm, at Earl Hall, Columbia University, professors, scholars, students and others heard Him speak on "religion, science and universal peace." He was invited to visit the various departments of the University, but He had to decline for lack of time. This was followed by a return to the Ansonia, where He was met, as usual, by a crowd of waiting people. Among them was Kate Carew, a reporter for The New York Tribune. 

      We have an excellent description of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in a feature article Miss Carew wrote in which she depicted Him as being of "scarcely medium height, but so extraordinary in the dignity of his majestic carriage that he seemed of more than average height." She appeared not only totally bewildered by the diversity of the crowd but also impressed by the personality of the Master and His warm response to each visitor. 'Abdu'l-Bahá invited Miss Carew to accompany Him and a few others to His next engagement at the Bowery.

      The unusual and moving event at the Bowery Mission was the confirmation of several weeks of Juliet's teaching and dedication. She had spoken about the Faith and the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the derelicts, and in turn, they invited the Master to speak to them. 'Abdu'l- Bahá had previously given $500 to Juliet and to Mr. Edward Getsinger for them to change into two large bags of silver quarters. After a loving talk to about 400 men, the Master stood at the door waiting for them to file by. He looked ahead appraising each man, then pressed some coins into his hand. One of them, John Good, a former criminal who had reformed since Juliet befriended him, declared that the Master had justly appraised each man's need and had given accordingly.

      Returning to the hotel by taxi, the Master was amused by the glittering of Broadway 's electric signs, and was reminded that Bahá'u'lláh loved light, recommending that His household economize on everything except light.

      At the Ansonia, the Master emptied the remaining coins into a maid's apron, who, upon learning of the Bowery event, promised that she would also give this money to the poor. She wanted to say goodbye to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, crying that she had been blessed to serve Him, and asked for prayers.

      The Master had invited the friends for a late supper in His suite. Recalling the performance of "The Terrible Meek" which He had attended early in the day, He said the play depicting the Crucifixion of Christ, should have been more complete. The Master then, told of the life and suffering of Jesus, in so detailed and vivid terms, that He seemed to relive events of "remembered anguish." He also commented on the power of the theater which could influence human feelings in reviving an event which took place 2000 years ago.

      Of the mornings at the hotel, Juliet Thompson wrote: "Oh, those mornings at the Ansonia in the Master's white sunny rooms, filled with spring flowers and roses! People poured in to see Him in droves, sometimes a hundred and fifty in one morning! Exhausted, He received the late arrivals in bed…I would watch them go into His bedroom and come out changed, as though they had had a bath of Life." Charles Rand Kennedy, author of "The Terrible Meek," was there one morning, and deeply moved said: "I was in the presence of God."

      On April 20, 'Abdu'l-Bahá left for Washington as the first stop of a three-week tour of Bahá'í communities. In Washington, journalists wrote that 'Abdu'l-Bahá swept through the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Congress "saw fit to adjourn."

      A number of Washington Bahá'ís belonged to the highest strata of society. Receptions organized for 'Abdu'l-Bahá included the elite of government, diplomatic and academic circles. The Master addressed a large interracial gathering at Howard University and expressed happiness, but He sternly commented to His entourage about the evidence of racial prejudice He had witnessed. He related that He had ordered interracial meetings. "The attendance was very large, the colored people predominating. At our second gathering this was reversed, but at the third meeting, We were unable to say which color predominated. These meetings were a great practical lesson upon the unity of colors and races in the Bahá'í Teachings



      Saturday, May 11, returning from a trip which included, on May 1st, the official laying of the cornerstone of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, 'Abdu'l-Bahá moved to a top floor apartment in the Hudson Apartment House. To those joyously gathered around Him, He said: "It is only three weeks that we have been away from the New York friends, yet so great has been the longing to see you that it seems three months."

      On Sunday, though still tired, 'Abdu'l-Bahá went to the Unity Church in Montclair, New Jersey. The minister, Dr. Edgard Wiers, had invited the Master and now introduced Him with great respect and emotion "as One of the Great Prophets, Chosen Ones of God."

      'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the Oneness of God and Creation, and ended chanting a prayer. A deeply moved audience followed Him to the street, all eyes brimming with tears of joy. After an afternoon shared with a group of friends, the Master returned to New York to address the International Peace Forum at the Grace Methodist Church. This was another triumph as the large attendance gave a standing ovation at the end of a major talk on the Bahá'í Teachings and history, and the establishment of the Most Great Peace.

      On May 13th, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was to appear as the guest of honor at a meeting of the New York Peace Society held at the Hotel Astor. The Master was sick in bed with a high temperature, Juliet pleaded for Him to rest. "I work by the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. I do not work by hygienic laws. If I did, I would get nothing done," He laughed.

      The peace meeting was an impressive gathering of two thousand people. On the dais was a group of leading personalities of the time: Rabbi Stephen Wise, president; Mr. Short (a friend of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie); Mrs. A. G. Spencer of the Ethical Society; Dr. Percy Grant; Professor William Jackson of Columbia University, and Mr. Topakyan, Persian Consul General. They all made introductory remarks. Mr. Topakyan said: "Our guest of honor has stood as a Prophet of enlightenment and peace for the Persian Empire, and a wellwisher of Persia may well honor Him…In closing, I am happy to say that 'Abdu'l-Bahá is the Glory of Persia today." This was not the only laudatory remark; they all vied to express their reverent admiration, recognizing the spiritual leadership of this "Great Figure from the East."

      Though the Master was visibly tired and His voice was hoarse, He delivered a unique speech on the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh for the age and on the establishment of peace. The response of the audience was such that Mahmud was ecstatic: "Verily, no desire remained unfulfilled to us, the servants of the Covenant. We saw with our own eyes the victory and confirmation of the Kingdom of Abhá." After the meeting, the audience pressed to come near to the Master, "He shook hands with…everyone of those two thousand people!" wrote Juliet.

      Later, back at the Hudson Apartments, a group of Japanese and Indian people were waiting for Him. The Master welcomed them and spoke on the civilization of India and the divine civilization.


Persian rug

      Juliet Thompson had previously introduced the Faith to Mr. Khan Bahadur Alláh-Bakhsh, the Governor of Lahore. On the morning of May 14th, this gentleman came to meet 'Abdu'l- Bahá who, warmly, welcomed him. The Governor sent a letter to Juliet stating: "'Abdu'l-Bahá is the Divine Light of today."

      On the same day, the Master traveled to Lake Mohonk, New York, for three days at the National Conference on Peace and International Arbitration.

      In 1911, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had exchanged correspondence with Mr. Albert Smiley, Founder and President of the Conference. As a result, He had been invited to be the featured speaker at the 18th Annual Conference and the Master had scheduled His visit to the United States to include this important event.

      These Conferences were attended by prominent people of New York, Washington DC, and other cities and countries. 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the first day on "The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind." Many in attendance were impressed and came on the platform to thank Him, some embracing Him with emotion.

      The Master also gave two general addresses on the teachings of the Faith and many private talks. His main address and commentaries were featured in the Conference report and two of His speeches were published in New York newspapers.

      On the last evening, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had expressed regrets that He should have brought a Persian rug as a gift for Mr. Smiley. Dr. Zia Bagdadi took the challenge of going to the New York apartment to fetch the rug during the night, and to be back in time before the planned departure. After an epic trip by various cars and trains, Dr. Bagdadi arrived in the mailman's horse wagon when the Master was leaving, shaking hands with Mr. Smiley. Receiving the rug, this gentleman exclaimed that this rug was similar to one destroyed in a fire and his wife, still heart broken over the loss, will be very happy.

      Although 'Abdu'l-Bahá greatly enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and the comfortable and quiet setting of Lake Mohonk, He was glad to come back to New York. He loved the Riverside Park area. He had selected a secluded spot there where He liked to go daily and walk by Himself or "sleep on the grass" a few minutes to rest. "When I am alone, exhaustion is removed and I am relaxed," He said. Sometimes, He allowed the friends to go with Him to this "hallowed spot," "His Garden," as the friends named the place and a recurring name in Juliet's and Mahmud's diaries.


The effect of the Holy Ghost

'Abdu'l-Bahá spent four days in Boston, then, returned to New York on May 26. After a brief rest at the home of the Kinneys, although still very tired, He proceeded to Mount Morris Baptist Church (now Mount Moriah) where He was scheduled to address the congregation. Juliet Thompson wrote: "This church suggests an old synagogue and the Master looked Christ-like to the friends." This spiritual feeling is described by Mahmud: "'Abdu'l-Bahá was standing under the arch of the church and reclining exhausted against the pillar…

 That night all saw with their outward eyes the effect of the Holy Ghost. Let no one think that it is only word painting. Yes, the tongues and feelings of all present bear a testimony to it. I write this because it is my duty to record it… all the non-Bahá'ís looked upon the Beauty of the Covenant as a Prophet."


      'Abdu'l-Bahá had expressed a desire for Juliet to paint His portrait and he requested that she come to His home on June 1st, at 7:30 in the morning, to begin work on it. She was given three sittings: the first one on that day, the final two about two weeks later.

      "I went into a panic," she confessed. The light and the location in the basement were poor, and "how could I paint the Face of God?" "I want you," He said, "to paint my servitude to God." "Oh. my Lord," she cried, "only the Holy Spirit could paint Your servitude to God… Pray for me!" "I will pray," answered the Master, "and as you are doing this only for the sake of God, you will be inspired." "And then, an amazing thing happened. All fear went away from me. I painted in ecstasy, free as I have never been before."


      During His stay at the Ansonia, a commercial movie company had requested to make a short film of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for its newsreels. The Master replied at once, "Khaili Khub" (Very good). Some of the friends were upset and explained to Him that this film would be scattered around the country and used in movie houses. He replied: "Besyar Khub" (Most good!)

      Consequently, one day, He appeared at the entrance of the Ansonia for the making of a short film. "It was a wonderfully impressive sight, for as He approached the camera, he was exhorting Bahá'u'lláh to bless this means for the spreading of the Heavenly Cause throughout the world."

      The friends arranged for a longer film to be made at the home of Mr. and Mrs. MacNutt on June 18, and they also made a recording of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's voice chanting "Glad tidings! Glad Tidings!"
"Rejoice! Rejoice! The Sun of reality has dawned!
Rejoice! Rejoice! The New Jerusalem has descended from Heaven!
Rejoice! Rejoice! The Glory of Carmel has shone on the worlds!"
      Although unskilled handling of the camera had 'Abdu'l-Bahá going out of frame and back again, this is a precious legacy, the record of the Beloved Master in action. The film and recording have been duplicated and sent out to all countries where Bahá'ís resided at the time.

      Seventy years later, the film has been incorporated into "The Quiet Revolution," a 58 minutes major film on the Bahá'í Faith, a 1985 BBC production released on English national television and in New York City in January 1986.

      At the end of this memorable day, 'Abdu'l-Bahá traveled 40 miles to visit a Jewish friend who was sick, returning home at night utterly exhausted.


      June 19th was an historic day for the Bahá'ís of New York . On that day, 'Abdu'l-Bahá named their city the "City of the Covenant." Also, He spoke of the Tablet of the Branch* revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in Andrianople, and proclaimed His own station as the "Center of the Covenant."

      What a highly dramatic, almost terrifying moment in history! The Son of Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet of God for our time, suddenly lifting the veil of His humanity, appearing in the Glory of the Power of the Covenant, the Power of Creation! It happened with the swiftness and blinding energy of a bolt of lightning, transporting its two witnesses, Juliet Thompson and Lua Getsinger,** into a spiritual whirling of exaltation and fright. Juliet had been called to work on His portrait on that day. She describes a sense of "peculiar power… in the Master's steps while coming down from His room… a fearful majesty… strange flashing of the eyes…" evoking an Old Testament Figure. Later as He was sitting for His portrait, Juliet recalled the following events:

"I had just begun to work, Lua in the room sitting on a couch nearby, when the Master smiled at me, then turning to Lua said in Persian: "This makes me sleepy. What shall I do?"
"Tell the Master, Lua, that if He would like to take a nap, I can work while He sleeps."
But I found that I could not. What I saw then was too sacred, too formidable. He sat still as a statue, His eyes closed, infinite peace on that chiseled face, a God-like calm and grandeur in His erect head.
Suddenly, with a great flash like lightning He opened His eyes, and the room seemed to rock like a ship in a storm with the power released. The Master was blazing! "The veils of glory," "the thousand veils" had shriveled away in the Flame and we were exposed to the Glory Itself!
Lua and I sat shaking and sobbing. Then He spoke to Lua. I caught the words, "Munádíy-i 'Ahd" (Herald of the Covenant).
Lua started forward, her hand to her breast. "Man?" (I?), she exclaimed. "Call one of the Persians. You must understand this."

Never shall I forget that moment, the flashing eyes of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the reverberations of His Voice, the Power that still rocked the room. God of lightning and thunder! I thought.

Lua behind The Master

"I appoint you, Lua, the Herald of the Covenant. And I AM THE COVENANT, appointed by Bahá'u'lláh. And no one can refute His Word. This is the Testament of Bahá'u'lláh. You will find it in the Holy Book of Aqdas. Go forth and proclaim:"
"This is THE COVENANT OF GOD in your midst."
*In the Bahá'í Writings, Bahá'u'lláh referred to Himself as a Tree, (The Tree of Life), His children as "Branches" and "Leaves". 'Abdu'l-Bahá is entitled "The Greatest Branch."
**Lua Getsinger was one of the first Bahá'í pilgrims to Akka in 1898. 'Abdu'l-Bahá had chosen her for her passionate and irresistible nature to be a "Banner" and inspired her to teach "day and night." Though sick, until her death in Cairo 18 years later at the age of 45, she never spared herself and was given the title of "Mother-teacher of the American Bahá'í Community" by Shoghi Effendi, besides the title of "Herald of the Covenant" given by the Master.
Bahá'í News April 1976.
A great joy had lifted Lua up. Her eyes were full of light. She looked like a winged angel. "Oh, recreate me," she cried, "that I may do this work for Thee!" By now I was sobbing uncontrollably.
"Don't cry, Juliet," He said. "This is no time for tears. Through tears you cannot see to paint."
I tried hard to hold back my tears and to work, but painting that day was at an end for me.
The Master smiled lovingly. "Juliet is one of my favorites because she speaks the truth. See how I love the truth, Juliet. You spoke one word of truth to me and see how I have praised it!"
I looked up to smile in answer and in gratitude, then I was overwhelmed again by that awful convulsive sobbing. At this the Master began to laugh and, as He laughed and laughed, the strangest thing happened. It was as if at each outburst He wrapped himself in more veils, so that now He looked completely human, without a trace left of His superhuman majesty. Never had I seen Him like this before and I never did afterward."
(At one time, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had explained that "laughter is spiritual relaxation." Now the Master very tenderly endeavored to make Lua and Juliet laugh.)
"Perhaps He had just found it necessary, after that mighty Declaration, to bring us down to earth again. He had revealed to us "The Apex of Immortality." He had lifted us to a height from which we could see it. Now He, our loving Shepherd, had carried us in His own arms back to our little valley and put us where we belonged."
      In the afternoon of that day, He sent Lua down to the waiting people to "proclaim the Covenant," then a little later, He followed her and spoke on the Station of the Center of the Covenant, "but not as He had done to Lua and me."

      In confirmation of His explanations, the Master had the Tablet of the Branch read to the friends so they could hear these mighty words of Bahá'u'lláh:
"Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned to God and whosoever turneth away from Him hath turned away from my Beauty, denied My Proof and is of those who transgress."
      On that same day a copy of the book, "The Brilliant Proof," written by Mírzá 'Abu'l Fadl was received. It was in answer to Reverend P. Easton's virulent criticism of the Faith in London and his letter to America, warning people of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's dangerous influence. The Master was very pleased with the book and ordered its translation to be published in this country.

      This Mighty Day ended like an ordinary day, with more visitors requesting an interview.


      While in Dublin, New Hampshire, 'Abdu'l-Bahá announced the forthcoming marriage of Mr. Louis Gregory, a Washington lawyer of black heritage, with Miss Louisa Mathew of London, a white lady. The wedding was planned for the 27th of September in New York City. Though the Master was in Denver, Colorado, on His way to California on that day, this union was His work and the ceremony was performed in the City of the Covenant, as He had expressly wished. The simple ceremony at a Church of England took place with nine persons present, including the minister and his wife, a friend of Jewish background, and representatives of the Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies of New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

      For years, a number of Bahá'í communities had been torn by misunderstanding over racial unity and the concept of interracial marriage implied in the teachings of Bahá' u'lláh. 'Abdu'l-Bahá had invited an unsuspecting Miss Mathew to travel with Him on the Cedric to America, and during the voyage had gradually prepared her to understand His wishes. She had met Mr. Gregory the previous year in Egypt in the presence of the Master. They were both middle-aged, mature persons who respected and were fond of each other. They understood the desire of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to make an example of their union as a service to the Faith, and their profound love for the Master gave them the courage to confront the social prejudices prevalent at the time. Their marriage was a happy one, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá described it as "an introduction to the accomplishment of good fellowship between black and white."

photo on the steps of the Bourgeouis house in teaneck
'Abdu'l-Baha visited there july 15, 1912 for dinner

      'Abdu'l-Bahá returned to New York on November 11, after a journey of about three months and three weeks, which had taken Him north to the Montreal area in Canada, across the United States, back and forth, including twenty-five days in California. Fortunately, Mr. Champney's lovely house, so dear to the friends, was available for renting again. Mr. Champney and his relatives had become Bahá'ís by this time.

      This was the last month of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's sojourn in America; 23 days remained before His departure, and His task was not yet done. In 1912, very few of the Bahá'í Writings had been translated into English; consequently, Bahá'ís at the time had little concrete basis to rely upon in the deepening of their Faith. One major accomplishment of the Master's lengthy visit was the many opportunities He had to present the Bahá'í teachings with thorough explanations to various audiences. These utterances were trustfully recorded and carbon copies of the transcripts were already circulating among the friends.

      As timely as the Bahá'í teachings were to the needs of mankind, Bahá'ís in those days lacked the perspective of history to appraise the true dimensions of the Faith, the unique phenomenon which the Bahá'í Revelation constitutes in the spiritual and social evolution of mankind and which is implied in the concept of "the Covenant of God."

      To insure the integrity of His Mission, Bahá'u'lláh had designated 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Center of His Covenant, the sole Interpreter of His Revelation. From the start of His ministry, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been confronted by opponents justly known as "Covenant breakers." In 1912, some of these misguided and confused individuals lived in Chicago and were disrupting the unity of the Bahá'ís. The concept of "unity" being inherent to the fundamental structure of the Bahá'í Faith, more was at stake in Covenant-breaking than the creation of a splinter group or sect.

      The primary purpose of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's journey to America was to officially proclaim His Station as the Center of the Covenant, to rally the unity of the Bahá'í Community, and to establish the strong foundation of love and integrity upon which the future of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh would stand and progress.

      With complete disregard for His frail physical condition, the Master gave most of His time in America to the friends, to their spiritual needs, to turn their weaknesses into springboards for future greatness, to weave a web of love connections between them. Answering their ceaseless inquiries, He patiently nurtured each one of them into the Faith. As Reverend Ives noted, "He sought the soul, the reality of everyone He met." Much was accomplished in this direction, particularly in New York City. On July 16, Mahmud could observe: "His extended stay in New York brought wonderful results among the friends."

      On June 19, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had made the official Proclamation of His Station, as "The Center of the Covenant." On that day, the Mystery of God revealed a glimpse of the awesome spiritual power implied in the statement of Bahá'u'lláh:
" Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned unto God…"
      During the three weeks ahead, the last act of this historic drama was to be unfolded. 'Abdu'l-Bahá declined most official invitations and spent the rest of His sojourn perfecting His task of unity. He poured the infinite spiritual power of His divine love into the creative energy which will make the City of the Covenant the "Center of Signs" for centuries to come.

      The pattern of these final days was that 'Abdu'l-Bahá spent mornings at His home, then would go to the home of Carrie and Edward Kinney, followed by other visits. He gave only a few public talks. At intervals, He would escape to His Garden to relax and catch the November sun, still bright and warm in New York.

      November 12th: The Birthday of Bahá'u'lláh. Some of the friends met at the home of Mrs. Krug who had weekly women's meetings on Tuesdays. Juliet describes the Master's invoking "Ya Bahá'u'l-Abhá" with such force that "…it was as though He were calling Someone on the same plane with Him… and Who would certainly come" and she felt His presence!

      Later, 'Abdu'l-Bahá took Juliet to His Garden and instructed her in detail on how to be firm in the Covenant and help bring unity among the friends. "…You must love Me," He said, "for the sake of God." "You are all I shall ever know of God," she cried. "I am the Servant of God," He replied.

      Shaken, on the way home Juliet was wondering "Could it be that I was not firm?" The following day, Juliet went early to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's house to thank Him for His mercy and patience with her. "I was asleep and You woke me." The Master replied: "I pray that you may ever be awake. There are a few souls in America whom I have chosen to be teachers of this Cause… I wish you to have all the qualities of the teacher."

      Addressing a large number of Bahá'ís at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney, the Master exhorted them "…to strive for the emancipation of their souls from passion and desire… to be aware of selfish ones who would lead them astray from the Path of God." At first, the Master was seated between the two large rooms. Then, He rose in a majestic and dignified manner, His beautiful face transfigured by a powerful emotion and invoking the sufferings and sacrifices of Bahá'u'lláh and the Martyrs, He spoke of firmness in the Covenant. The friends, their eyes brimming with tears, were galvanized.

      On the evening of November 15, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was annoyed that some people would comment that they did not see the difference between Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith, or they did not understand the advent of this New Dispensation. En route to the house of Juliet, the Master said: "The time has come for Me to throw bombs!" To a crowd occupying the entire length of the house, He spoke powerfully on the greatness of this Cycle, the great Victories of Bahá'u'lláh over the Kings and Rulers of His time, and on the meaning of the Bahá'í Revelation for mankind.

      Public appearances during this period included a talk at the Genealogical Hall, on the evolution of all forms of existence, of mankind and civilizations. "He ended this address with the chanting of a prayer which drowned the hearts in a surging sea of ecstasy and rapture…" commented Mahmud.


      On November 18, upon being invited, 'Abdu'l-Bahá visited the J. Pierpont Morgan Library, where He wrote a few sentences in the guest book, praising the philanthropist and asking God's blessings on his work. The event was reported in The New York Times, including the complete translation of the Master's remark which Dr. Farid had written in the guest book.

      In the afternoon, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney became the stage of a drama. "The Master put Howard MacNutt through a severe ordeal, an inevitable ordeal…" commented Juliet.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá had instructed Mr. MacNutt with the mission of going to Chicago to meet with the misguided individuals and clarify their status in the Faith. Mr. MacNutt failed to understand the danger of the forces of disunity at this time in the history of the Faith and had avoided the issue, trying to justify his action in a letter to a Persian friend. The result was a dark shadow cast over the community, which since his return was shaken by arguments and uncertainty. Now, Mr. MacNutt was to meet the Master.

      In the little time left before His departure, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had to act swiftly. He called Mr. MacNutt in His room, on the second floor, and after a while He was heard to sternly ordering him to publicly recognize his mistake and retract his words at once! "Go down and tell the people: I was like Saul. Now I am Paul, for I see." * Though reluctantly, Mr. MacNutt went down the stairs to the large assembly of believers and, "his back shrunken…" barely audible, went through his retraction. During this time…"the Master leaned over the stair rail, His head thrown far back, His eyes closed, in anguished prayer… This is like Christ in Gethsemane," Juliet thought.

      When Howard MacNutt went up toward His room, 'Abdu'l-Bahá ran forward to meet him. "Our Lord was all in white that night and as He ran arms wide open He looked like a great flying bird. He unfolded Howard in a close embrace… welcomed with ecstasy this broken man who, though bewildered, had obeyed Him." The Master then called Mr. Kinney and others to His room and asked them to embrace Howard MacNutt, and from now on to work together teaching the Cause in perfect love and unity in the City of the Covenant.

      "Obedience," the Master once said, "Obedience, is the rod by which I measure the love of the friends." The following night, someone gloated over Mr. MacNutt's chastisement. The Master sighed: "I immersed Mr. MacNutt in the fountain of Job last night."**

*Reference to Biblical Saul of Tarsus who became Jesus' Apostle Paul after his vision on the Road to Damascus.

**J. Thompson's Diary, pp. 369-72.
Howard MacNutt's love and gratitude for the Master never failed after his ordeal. He went on as a dedicated teacher of his beloved Faith, until his and Mrs. Mary MacNutt's untimely death in a car accident.


      On November 20, 'Abdu'l-Bahá made a last visit to the home of Juliet and Mrs. Thompson. After resting in one of Juliet's room, He visited every room of the house and said: "This house is blessed." These words echoed in the heart of Juliet and her mother for ever…

      By spending Saturday, November 23, in Montclair, New Jersey, the Master missed the booking deadline for the S.S. Mauretania, to the delight of the friends. In the evening, the Day of the Covenant was celebrated with a great banquet at the Great Northern Hotel. The banquet room was magnificent; more than 300 Bahá'ís attended, some coming from the regions of Washington, Philadelphia and Boston. A few dignitaries such as Mr. Topakyan, were also invited. Before the food was served, 'Abdu'l-Bahá went among the guests, anointing everyone with attar of rose, a Persian custom to honor guests. The Master gave a short talk.

      As the Great Northern Hotel manager had stubbornly and vehemently refused to allow black guests at the banquet, the friends organized a great interracial feast at the home of the Kinneys the following day. Many of the white ladies rose to serve the meal. The Master was very pleased and said: "Today you have shown the Commandments of the Blessed Beauty in your actions and have acted according to the teaching of the Supreme Pen."

      On November 25, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was the honored guest at the annual luncheon of the Club Minerva at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Mrs. Mary MacNutt was the President of this renowned women's club. The Master spoke on the virtues and rights of women. He next visited the home of Mrs. Asa Cochran, where He gave a talk on the abolition of prejudices and on acquiring perfection through spiritual power.

      Later, Juliet was at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's home waiting for the Master with Dr. Percy Grant, who had come for his farewell visit. The Master was happy to see Dr. Grant and apologized for keeping him waiting. He said, "I was captured by 300 women this afternoon. Is it not a dreadful thing?" They met in private in the Master's room. Dr. Farid, who was the interpreter, later told Juliet that Dr. Grant had expressed great concern for the safety of 'Abdu'l-Bahá who was going to a war area (Turkey and the Balkans) and had offered his services to help Him in any way he could, asking to be kept informed of His well-being.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá was born on May 23rd, 1844, on the same night the Báb, Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh, revealed His Mission. In the early days of the Faith in Akka, the Master told the Persian friends, that this day was not to be celebrated as His birthday. It was the Day of the Declaration of the Báb, exclusively associated with Him. But, as the friends begged for a day to be celebrated as His, He gave them November 26th, to be observed as the day of the appointment of the Centre of the Covenant. It was known as the great Festival, because 'Abdu'l-Bahá was the Greatest Branch. In the West, it became known as the Day of the Covenant.*

      In this context, the scene witnessed by Juliet on this November 26, 1912, in New York, takes a special significance.

      On this Day of the Covenant, Juliet went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney to meet with 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He was on the upper floor with the Persian friends, Mr. Montford Mill, Carrie Kinney and others. Dr. Bagdadi and Dr. Farid were working on the official translation of The Tablet of The Branch under the stern supervision of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The translation was submitted sentence by sentence to the Master until He was satisfied with the rendering. "I shall never forget… His sterness, His terrific majesty as he directed that translation." Throughout the proceedings, Juliet was overwhelmed and reacted with uncontrollable crying, comforted by Mahmud and Valíyu'lláh Khán, who understood her feelings.

Future generations of Bahá'ís can only be grateful for Juliet Thompson's great love for 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and her sincerity, that He had praised. In her emotional testimony, we can see, unfolding within three days, the historical purpose of the Mystery of God in the City of the Covenant: June 19; November 18 and 26- events which can be remembered as the divine triptych which firmly established the continuity of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. **

*From H.M. Balyuzi "'Abdu'l-Bahá," p.523.
**During a 1980 pilgrimage in Haifa, this writer asked Hand of the Cause Mr. Furitan, if he knew the purpose of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the City of the Covenant. Mr. Furitan explained that the Master had planned to build up the unity of the Bahá'ís in New York City to counter the destructive activities of the Covenant-breakers in Chicago. Mr. Furitan asserted: "Yes, and He stopped the Chicago Covenantbreakers from New York toward the end of His sojourn!" Also, at the Bahá'í International Archives, inquiry was made about the status of Juliet Thompson's diary. The friends were shown a package wrapped in brown paper and string with Shoghi Effendi's hand writing: " Diary of Juliet Thompson to be published in due time." And we were told "Shoghi Effendi loved it!"


      During the last few days, the house of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was crowded with eager friends. The Master told them: "I always derive pleasure from our meetings. I shall always remember these days." The friends came to look at His face, "to turn to the Dawning Place of the Divine Covenant… He was imparting joy to the sad, hope to the hopeless and a flame to the dormant while He guided strugglers to the right path." At another time, the Master said, "…the purpose of the Holy Manifestations of God was not to found religions and churches, but to educate souls who will become teachers of mankind… The people of Bahá must endeavor day and night to enforce this divine purpose."

      On that Thanksgiving Day, November 28, the Master expressed love for Americans and hope in their destiny to evolve toward spirituality with the same energy now directed toward material achievements.

      Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Emery had invited 'Abdu'l-Bahá to move to their home for the last few days, but most of the large meetings were held at the Kinneys' until the end. Some of the friends wanted to offer money to the Master and gifts of jewelry for His relatives. He asked them to give everything to the poor. As the friends insisted, He said that He accepted their gifts, but they should sell them for His sake and give the proceeds to the fund for the construction of the House of Worship in Wilmette.

      Speaking of impending international war, 'Abdu'l-Bahá expressed the wish that America would lead the world to peace and world unity. "In the religion of Bahá'u'lláh this question of peace is a positive command and a religious obligation… It is a positive divine command and is, thus, certain to come to pass."

      At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney on December 2, 'Abdu'l-Bahá announced His departure. "These are the days of my farewell to you, for I am sailing on the 5th of the month. Wherever I went in this country I returned always to New York City." The Master gave a beautiful exhortation ending with these words: "Be illumined, be spiritual, be divine, be glorious, be quickened of God, be a Bahá'í."

      This was not yet the end. In spite of all the final preparations, 'Abdu'l-Bahá continued to have meetings at the Kinneys', mostly with Bahá'ís. However, ministers and rabbis still sought to reach Him for guidance until the last day. His final public appearance was made the evening before His departure, at the Theosophical Society, where He delivered an address on the eternity of creation, the evolution of the spirit, and the power of the Manifestation of God.

      Juliet had asked 'Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to stay "in some corner of His home" the entire day of December 4. She was allowed to do so although He was seeing many others. After everyone had left, the Master told Juliet that the proceeds of the sale of the photographs of His portrait that she had planned to send to the Temple fund were for her to keep. He was aware of Mrs. Thompson's and Juliet's dire financial situation since the death of her father. The portrait had been exhibited at the Church of the Ascension for several weeks, and now 'Abdu'l-Bahá was taking it with Him.*

      On Thursday, December 5th, Juliet had gone early in the morning to the Emery's (last home of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York). She was trying to fill her memory with the Master's every move and expressions. The Master took her hand telling her, "Remember, I am with you always. Bahá'u'lláh will be with you always." He had expressed often these thoughts to the friends.

      Juliet and some of the friends drove to the pier with the Master and followed Him up to His cabin on the S.S. Celtic. Then they all went to the large first class lounge, packed with Bahá'ís from various parts of the country. Walking back and forth, a familiar action when speaking to the friends, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave them His last exhortation in the City of the Covenant, while all the friends were weeping quietly.

* The original portrait has been lost. Only a few of the 1912 photographs are kept in private and bahá'í archives. The illustration in this book is one of these 1912 prints, from the estate of Mrs. Asa Cochran, courtesy of the Hopson-Samuel family.

      He reminded the friends that they were standing for the unity of all nations and for world peace while a war raged in the Balkans. Then He said, "As to you, your efforts must be lofty. Exert yourselves with heart and soul that perchance through your efforts the light of Universal Peace may shine and this darkness of estrangement and enmity may be dispelled from amongst men.

      "You have no excuse to bring before God if you fail to live according to His command, for you are informed of that which constitutes the good pleasure of God… It is my hope that you may become successful in this high calling, so that like brilliant lamps you may cast light upon the world of humanity and quicken and stir the body of existence like unto a spirit of life.

      "This is eternal glory. This is everlasting felicity. This is immortal life. This is heavenly attainment. This is being created in God's image and likeness. And unto this I call you, praying God to strengthen and bless you."

      The passengers and officers of the Celtic were astonished at the scene: "Their surprise was beyond expression," noted Mahmud. "The Master was seated in a corner of the lounge, while the believers flocked around Him for the last minutes left." Juliet lamented, "…It was death to leave that ship. I stood on the pier with May Maxwell, tears blurred my sight. Through them, I could see the Master in the midst of the group of Persians waving a patient hand to us. It waved and waved, that beautiful hand, till the Figure was lost to sight."

      From the ship, Mahmud could see the friends on the pier, "…the steamer moved out to sea, but as far as the eyes could see the multitude of the friends surged like a mighty host… The Beloved spoke about the power of the Greatest Name. 'Behold!' He said, 'By the power of the Cause of God a new spirit has been breathed into the hearts which has produced a change in the souls. Continuously the assistance of the Beauty of Abhá reached us and invariably the lights of victory shone from the Supreme Horizon. We received the confirmations of the Kingdom of God and the assistance of the Invisible Sovereignty of the Beauty of Abhá which He promised clearly in the verse:
'We see you from the horizon of Abhá and with the hosts of the Supreme Concourse and the armies of the Angels of Nearness We assist those who rise to help the Cause.'"


      We may take the time to reflect on the extraordinary events that took place in this country in 1912 as they were part of a greater pattern.

      In God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi, after relating the trials and sufferings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the recovery of His freedom, wrote: "So momentous a change in the fortune of the Faith was the signal for such an outburst of activity on His part as to dumbfound His followers in East and West with admiration and wonder, and exercise an imperishable influence on the course of its future history. He Who, in His own words, had entered prison as a youth and left it as an old man, Who never in His life had faced a public audience, had attended no school, had never moved in Western circles and was unfamiliar with Western customs and language, had arisen not only to proclaim from pulpit and platform in some of the chief capitals of Europe and in the leading cities of the North American continent, the distinctive verities enshrined in His Father's Faith, but to demonstrate as well the divine origin of the Prophets gone before Him and to disclose the nature of the tie binding them to that Faith."

      In this country, followed by throngs of Bahá'ís and anonymous people alike, and trailed by groups of astonished journalists and writers, 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to the lowliest of society and to the loftiest socialites, to leaders of thought and representatives of governments. He addressed large audiences, praising Christ in synagogues, bringing Mohammad's teachings to Christian churches and the unity of religion and science to universities, further proclaiming the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and His Mission of Peace to a world at the brink of world war. The Master nurtured the friends, one soul at a time, captivating new believers, confirming wavering ones, and made proud standard-bearers of the humblest, uniting all in the embracing shelter of His Divine Love.

      Finally, The Mystery of God, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, unveiling the Spiritual Power of His Station as Center of the Covenant of Bahá'ulláh, endowed New York with the imperishable title of "City of the Covenant."


'Abdu'l-Baha with Howard Colby Ives'Abdu'l-Baha with Howard Colby Ives
source on line  Eliane Lacroix-Hopson
aka Eliane A. Hopson and other sources compilation 

Abdu’l-Bahá visited Montreal in August 1912. 

His first act the morning following His arrival was so characteristic of His wonderful love and sympathy:  the healing of a sick child. A wealthy family, living opposite the Maxwell home in Montreal, had a little daughter who had been an invalid all her life. The mother of this child, also an invalid, was the first to beg ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to come and see them inasmuch as they could not go to Him.

When the message was given to Him, He was told of the invalid child, and a great softness and seriousness came into His face. “Do you wish me to heal this child?” He asked. And as the reply was an ardent appeal, He immediately went to the home of this family. The pale little girl with great luminous eyes came into the room and walked straight into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s loving outstretched arms. For a moment all was silent.

Then hugging her fondly, He claimed, “This child is not of this world! She is from the Kingdom of Abhá and has come to the world at this time to be the cause of the guidance and illumination of all her family, both in the seen and unseen worlds! From now on throughout all eternity she is under the special protection of Almighty God!”

He laid His hands gently on her head and shoulders and then told the family that she must go out every day, in the middle of the day, on the ground. Then she would be entirely healed.

Nine months later when the Master’s words had finally taken effect, as the snows were melting from the ground in early spring, this beautiful child came out of her house and walked on the ground. She was perfectly healthy, strong and well.

Howard Colby Ives was a Unitarian Minister who became a Bahá’í after meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1912. He left his position in the ministry to travel around the country with his wife Mabel, teaching others about their faith. He was a writer, poet, and prolific correspondent with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. The Ives Research Project aims to let all those whose lives were touched by Howard and Mabel to collaborate in studying the wealth of historical documents related to them.

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