An Evening of Stories with Violette Haake

A few years ago, I was visiting Violette and Roderic Haake at their home in Melbourne, Australia, and I was filled with joy as we sat around their kitchen table, drinking tea and sharing stories.

Mrs. Violette Haake was a former member of the International Teaching Centre. She was born in 1928 and dedicated her life to sharing the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, whether in Iran, the United States, Australia or many of the other places she visited as an Auxiliary Board Member, Counsellor or member of the International Teaching Centre.

I was so moved by the recollections that she shared with me that we organized an impromptu get-together that same night and invited some of the young Baha’is in Melbourne to come hear about some of her extraordinary experiences and delight in her wisdom and encouragement.

Thankfully, we filmed what she said that evening and I feel honored to be able to share this video with you. Continue reading

An Evening of Stories with Violette Haake [Audio Version]

This is the audio version of the video ‘An Evening of Stories with Violette Haake’, which you can watch here.

A few years ago, I was visiting Violette and Roderic Haake at their home in Melbourne, Australia, and I was filled with joy as we sat around their kitchen table, drinking tea and sharing stories.

Mrs. Violette Haake was a former member of the International Teaching Centre. She was born in 1928 and dedicated her life to sharing the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, whether in Iran, the United States, Australia or many of the other places she visited as an Auxiliary Board Member, Counsellor or member of the International Teaching Centre.

I was so moved by the recollections that she shared with me that we organized an impromptu get-together that same night and invited some of the young Baha’is in Melbourne to come hear about some of her extraordinary experiences and delight in her wisdom and encouragement.

Thankfully, we filmed what she said that evening and I feel honored to be able to share this video with you. Continue reading

In Memory of Violette Nakhjavani

It is very difficult to render tribute to a person so precious and outstanding as Violette Nakhjavani, who passed away last month.

She lived a life of service to the beloved Cause, blessed by the years of early pioneering in the continent of Africa and by the unique opportunity to be the tireless companion and devoted friend of the Hand of the Cause, Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, whom she loved and served so dearly.

Words cannot sufficiently describe the manner in which Mrs Nakhjavani and Ruhiyyih Khanum courageously and steadfastly spread the Message of Baha’u’llah. They travelled thousands of kilometers – across villages, cities, countries and oceans – and lovingly encouraged individuals of all origins, race and creed, as well as strengthening their love for the Faith.

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21 Resources Relating to the 100th Anniversary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia, so in celebration, we thought we’d bring together 21 resources that honor this historic occasion! Some of the resources listed are our own content, written or created by the Baha’i Blog team of collaborators, some are from Baha’i institutions, and some are individual initiatives that we’ve showcased and curated on Baha’i Blog.

Whether you’re Australian or not, we hope you find this list helpful and inspiring, and for our Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends, before you scroll any further, a warning that some of the resources listed below feature photographs of people who have since passed away.

Now on with the list! Continue reading

6 Baha’i Blog Studio Session Songs for the Departed

With the recent passing of Mrs. Violette Haake, Dr. Farzam Arbab, and Mr. Douglas Martin, plus the countless other souls who have “abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world”, as Abdu’l-Baha puts it in one of His prayers for the departed, I thought it would be befitting to share a few Baha’i Blog Studio Session songs which relate to the departed. (You can learn more about the Baha’i concept of death here: Exploring the Baha’i Concept of Life After Death).
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A Tribute to Mr. Ali Nakhjavani

On 11 October, 2019 the Universal House of Justice shared with the world the news of the passing of one of its former members, Mr. Ali Nakhjavani. The Universal House of Justice wrote:

We mourn the loss of an extraordinary figure who leaves behind a distinguished legacy of uninterrupted service to the Cause of God. In the course of a singularly remarkable life that began in the closing years of the Heroic Age and extended to the very fringes of the second century of the Formative Age, he shone in the firmament of selfless devotion to Baha’u’llah and was called upon to be involved in many a major development in the rise of the Administrative Order, whether as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, as an intrepid pioneer to Africa in the Ten Year Crusade, as a member of the African Auxiliary Board when it was first created, as a member of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa at its inception, and as a member of the International Baha’i Council when it was first elected, a prelude to his membership on the Universal House of Justice when it was established in 1963. He brought to his decades of monumental service absolute fidelity to his beloved Guardian, an exceptional depth of knowledge of the Cause, leonine commitment to the defence of the Covenant, intense ardour for the teaching work, rare spiritual acuity, and a radiant heart brimming with love for everyone who crossed his path. His was a life of profound spiritual attainment lived at the hinge of history. May his utter consecration, his adamantine faith, and his unswerving dedication to duty inspire generations to come.

I cannot even begin to imagine the thousands of lives he has touched in 100 fully lived years. I was honoured to witness just a glimpse of the love, the respect and immense esteem which a myriad of people have for him and which we will carry throughout our lives, through our difficulties and our days of joy. Continue reading

We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 3)

The Baha’i Blog team is excited to share our third collection of photos of people wearing our t-shirts, and sadly this will be the last of these collections, as the Baha’i Blog Shop is scheduled to close in less than a week, on 10 July, 2019.

You can learn more about why we’re closing down the Baha’i Blog Shop from this article ‘Baha’i Blog Shop Closing – Last Chance to Get Your Baha’i-Inspired T-Shirts!‘, and we’d really like to express A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who has supported us over the years by buying something from our shop, and for all those who have helped us with the shirts and the shop, and all that goes into making an initiative like this happen!

We love it when we see pictures of people wearing our t-shirts pop up on social media pages, and it’s always great hearing about the impact the shirts are having, so we decided to showcase some of the images shared with us in this third collection called “We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 3)”. You can see part one and part two of these collections using these links below:

1. We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 1)
2. We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 2)

Before we begin the collection, I’d like to give one last reminder that buying our shirts helps Baha’i Blog continue to create all the Baha’i-inspired content we’ve been working on over the last eight years, plus they really do make great gifts for you and your family and friends! All of our shirts are limited editions and are printed by hand, and all orders include FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING, so head on over to the Baha’i Blog Shop to get your last shirts before they’re gone!!

Now on with the collection! Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 36: Kamal Sinclair

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode, I sit down with the multi-talented Kamal Sinclair, a dancer, percussionist, multi-media producer, and currently the Executive Director of ‘Future Architects’. In this conversation we talk about being in ‘Stomp’, new technology and emerging media, the future of work, meeting Ruhiyyih Khanum, how art generates knowledge and the role beauty plays in the world, the difference between empathy and compassion, and the need to address trauma and abuse in the community. I hope you find this conversation as riveting as I did! Continue reading

William Sutherland Maxwell: Distinguished Architect

William Sutherland Maxwell, November 14th, 1874 - March 25th, 1952 (Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community)

William Sutherland Maxwell was a distinguished soul whose life is best summarized in the words of Shoghi Effendi. The Guardian cabled the following obituary to the Baha’is of the world on March 26, 1952:

With sorrowful heart announce through national assemblies that Hand of Cause of Baha’u’llah, highly esteemed, dearly beloved Sutherland Maxwell, has been gathered into the glory of the Abha Kingdom. His saintly life, extending well nigh four score years, enriched during the course of Abdu’l-Baha’s ministry by services in the Dominion of Canada, ennobled during the Formative Age of Faith by decade of services in Holy Land, during darkest days of my life, doubly honoured through association with the crown of martyrdom won by May Maxwell and incomparable honor bestowed upon his daughter, attained consummation through his appointment as architect of the arcade and superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulchre as well as elevation to the front rank of the Hands of Cause of God.

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Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum

Amatu’l-Baha Ruḥiyyih Khanum, born Mary Sutherland Maxwell Aug. 8, 1910 - Jan. 19, 2000. (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)

Amatu’l-Baha Ruḥiyyih Khanum, born Mary Sutherland Maxwell
Aug. 8, 1910 – Jan. 19, 2000. (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)


15 years ago, on January 19, 2000, Madame Ruhiyyih Rabbani, born as Mary Sutherland Maxwell, and affectionately known by the title Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, passed away from this earthly plain. She was the Handmaiden of Glory; the beloved consort of Shoghi Effendi; his “shield”, his “helpmate”, and his “tireless collaborator”; a Hand of the Cause of God; and the “Baha’i world’s last living link to the family of Abdu’l-Baha”.

On the Sunday afternoon that her precious remains were laid to rest, the sweetness of a chanted Persian prayer reverberated throughout the garden where nearly a thousand friends had gathered from places far-flung across the globe to pay tribute and homage to this beloved personage. A soft rain began to fall gently upon all there; perhaps nature’s own testimony to the grief felt in all the hearts and the tears upon many a cheek.

The beauty of the love story that was to become Ruhiyyih Khanum’s life was one that began long before her birth. Mary Sutherland Maxwell was born on 8 August 1910 in New York City. The beloved only-child of William Sutherland Maxwell and May Ellis Bolles, she was a result of the prayers of Abdu’l-Baha for the fulfillment of May Bolles’ heart’s desire to have a child, and perhaps, the gift of her mother’s complete acquiescence and resignation to the Will of God. Continue reading