News

News

Montréal, August 15, 2019 - In response to the invitation of the follow-up committee for this project, the Borough of Saint-Laurent (Mayor Alan DeSousa, twoCity Councillors, a borough councillor and a representative from Culture, Sports, Recreation and Social Development) as well as representatives of the following institutions and organizations: Cegep de Saint-Laurent, Volunteers Center and Community Development in Saint-Laurent (ABC Center), Center for Young Immigrant Women ( CEJFI), the Bahá'í Community of Saint-Laurent, the Committee of Social Organizations of Saint-Laurent, the Police Deparment of the City of Montreal, Neighborhood Station 7 and the YMCA Saint-Laurent met to reflect and discuss on an Action Plan.

This is an initiative of Laurentian Community to promote and develop practices that promote Unity in Diversity. 

Several Laurentian organizations wishing to promote living in harmony and unity of the Laurentians population, said Gigi Vidal, the Director of Community Affairs of the Bahá'í Community of Montreal, a meeting was called to reflect and discuss about the ways to make this vision of Unity in Diversity a mobilizing project in order to unify the Laurentian community. Ultimately, the goal is for Saint-Laurent to be an inspiring model of social harmony. 

Since autumn 2017, following a Panel Discussion held in honor of the Bicentenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh with a message of Peace, Hope, Unity and Justice centered on Unity in Diversity, reflections and informative meetings have been originated toward this goal which have proved very fruitful. A follow-up committee was set up including the Bahá'í Community of Montreal, Cegep Saint-Laurent, the Police Department of the City of Montreal - Neighborhood Station 7 (SPVM, PDQ 7) and the Committee of Saint-Laurent Social Organizations (COSSL).

In December 2018, a questionnaire was sent to more than 150 people to find out whether there was any goal set within the Laurentian associations to promote Unity in Diversity. On August 15, 2019, a breakfast-meeting was organized by the follow-up committee to present the results of the questionnaire as well as a detailed Plan of Action to promote Unity in Diversity by creating a friendship link between Laurentians of all backgrounds.

Objectives:

1. To publicize existing programs that favor Unity in Diversity;

2. To put forward innovative projects related to the theme;

3. To be an inspiring model of social emblem beyond the territory of Saint-Laurent.

In a warm atmosphere of unity, respect and sharing, different ideas emerged following a cordial discussion among the representatives present, such as to name a public park after this project or to place a sign to reflect this idea in an area in the borough, dedicate a week to Unity in diversity, a Facebook page that would broadcast the various programs and activities to show the importance of Unity, an Instagram account #uniteindiversity, etc.

Our success must be motivated by our values.

 

Montreal, August 1, 2019 – Inspired by various messages from the Universal House of Justice, Canadian National Spiritual Assembly and Montreal Spiritual Assembly, the team serving in the NDG neighbourhood reached at least 51 children and 35 junior youth through doing fresh outreach and through network of friends. 23 children and 23 junior youth attended at least once either the class or the festival. Out of the 16 families that the team had conversations with, they were able to advance the conversation further with 9 of them. 

As a new approach, Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood is divided into two pockets; around the Kent Park and Van Horne Park. In each pocket, everyday there has been outreach and a junior youth group at the park in the evenings. In the Kent Park pocket, a children class is also happening every day. Children learned about love, justice, unity and truthfulness. In the junior youth group, they learnt about service, friendship and excellence and they studied lessons from the junior youth text “Walking the Straight Path”.

A children’s festival was organized at Kent Park and took place from 2 to 4pm. It attracted new families, junior youth and children and brought joy to the hearts. 

One service project, cleaning the park, already took place at Van Horne Park. This following week another service project will take place at Kent Park. Junior youth planned to have a bake sale to collect money to donate to the Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation.

July 6 – 10, 2019 - A junior youth camp which took place in Montreal welcomed 38 junior youth from four areas of the cluster gathered around the theme of the beauty of science. They studied six lessons from the newly available text "Observation and Insight", visited an organic farm, carried out science experiments, went on a nature walk, and learned about the environment. They were all very happy to participate, some even skipping a few days of their regular day camps to be able to attend. They built strong friendships and are excited to see each other again at the next camp at the end of August.

August 1, 2019 – The 19 days Feast of Perfection was celebrated in eight neighbourhoods in Montreal area. Plans of various activities during the year were consulted upon with unprecedented enthusiasm and joy. The spiritual education of children and youth was the focus of the consultation as well as the celebration of the Bicentenary of the birth of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith

Dozens of Devotional gatherings are also being held regularly in various boroughs of the city. The one at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre welcomes dozens of friends of the Community every Sunday from 11 AM.

Last day of our July 2019 outreach celebrated with kids and families in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce,JY cupcake sale benefits go to Saint Justine hospital

It is our party to see Aaya, Enoly and Mona off to their next adventure. Friday 26th July 2019

Saturday May 18 Feast in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Wed June 26h children’s class saying good bye to Anissa and Sébastien.

Devotional May 12th at the neighbourhood.

Montreal, March 21, 2019 - The Bahá'í Community of Montreal celebrated the New Year on this spring day at Courtyard Marriott Hotel. Over 300 friends from all the boroughs, of different nationalities, ethnicities, cultures and languages ​​participated in this annual event. Celebrated around the world, this holiday is also a joyful occasion for Parsees (Zoroastrians), Iranians and other nationalities across the Asia and Middle East.

This day also coincides with the official launch of Action Week Against Racism. This event was celebrated at the Montréal Bahá’í Centre with some 30 guests from various associations of the city as well as friends from other boroughs. Prayers were chanted in several languages including Māori, New-Zealand’s native language! The International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1966. It calls upon the international community to bring an end to racism, discrimination and intolerance, urges NGOs, community organizations, schools, local councils and all manner of groups and individuals to join forces and confront racism with direct action. Whether by organizing activities, supporting others, or spreading the message we encourage ourselves and others to stand hand in hand for unity in diversity.

“This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the Divine Messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all.” 

(‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy)

"Naw Rúz" [or Now-Rouz] is the feast celebrated by Bahá'ís around the world on the occasion of the beginning of the calendar and the Bahá'í year: March 21st, the first Spring day, the beginning of the awakening of nature, the blossoming of buds and flowers!

What's more logical and more natural, indeed, than to start the year that day. The Báb (the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith), who instituted the new calendar of the New Era, chose this date (March 21st) as New Year's Day, a choice ratified later by Bahá'u'lláh. This day has already been celebrated since centuries before Christ as a feast and was called "Naw Rúz". This is how it was kept for our Bahá'í New Year celebration.

What did it represent in ancient Persia, since this festival is at least three millennia and probably more than 25 centuries old?

"Now Rouz" (transliterated: Naw Rúz and pronounced No(w) Rouz, means in Persian: New Day. In Iranian mythology it is said that the Supreme God created the universe in six days: successively; Heaven, Earth, water, plants, animals and, on the sixth day, the Man ... A celebration for each of these creations: that of the appearance of the Man was called "Naw Rúz" !

Until the year 538 BC, "Naw Rúz" was only the festival of Creation (of Man). From this date on ward, the Iranians will make it coincide with the New Year's Day, the first day of Spring. This change of date was made under the reign of the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great who released the Children of Israel from the yoke of the Babylonians and was commissioned by God to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. Cyrus [of Mazdean religion (Zoroastrianism)] has an important rank since not only is he known as the first "promulgator" of a charter of human rights ensuring in particular religious freedom, but especially because he is called in the Bible: "the shepherd, the anointed of the Lord"!

For more than 2,500 years, apart from those of Iran,  some inhabitants of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Caucasia , Turkey and Iraq are also celebrating "Naw Rúz".

For the Iranian calendar (which is completely different from the Islamic calendar and which would be one of the few to start on the first day of Spring), it represents, in addition of the New Year which is celebrated for 12 days - a 13th day during which one must leave the house for a joyful communion with nature.

Despite the invasion of this region by Alexander of Macedon, the armies of Islám, the hordes of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, and despite the vicissitudes of the times, this festival persisted and, being a common point, even served to unite culturally the peoples of the Iranian Plateau ...

In mythology, tradition and Iranian culture, "Naw Rúz" is considered the Feast of the Creator, the appearance of Man, the Feast of Nature, Fecundity, Hope and Peace. It is also the Feast of the Family, Respect towards the head of the family and the elderly, Friendship, Generosity, Joy and Children ...

Montreal, July 14, 2019: As learning activities and social and community development growth progress in the city's various neighborhoods, summer activities were also celebrated everywhere in the neighborhood parks.

The NDG neighborhood had two picnics with the participation of dozens of young people and their parents. The two events that took place at Kent Park in the neighborhood, were also an opportunity to wish a good trip to our friends Sebastien and Anissa who are going to the United States to continue their studies in economics!

On June 30, 2017, a group of 20 youths from Prince Edward Island came to the Bahá'í Center in Montreal to attend the weekly devotional gathering. They continued their guided tour of the places where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had frequented during his stay in Montreal, such as St. James United Church, the annex of the former Windsor Hotel, the Windsor Station, the Mary Queen of the World Basilica and the Bahá'í Shrine, the former home of architect Maxwell.

 

 

During the devotional meeting this Sunday, we had the pleasure of meeting Ibrahim MOUSSA DAN-KOMA, a Bahá'í friend from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso who was in Montreal for a conference related to his profession.

Another youth group of fifteen from Brampton, Ontario visited us on July 13, 2019! After attending the Sunday prayer meeting at the Bahá'í Center in Montreal, the group went to the Bahá'í shrine for a few hours of contemplation before visiting other places where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had stayed in the city.

A major teaching conference was also held on July 13, 2019 at the Bahá'í Center in Montreal with the participation of 50 adults and 10 children. The day was dedicated to neighborhood activities and devotional meetings. A touching presentation by Auxiliary Board Member Mona Pirmoradi was a source of inspiration for launching our Teaching and Expansion cycles in different neighborhoods of Montreal.

 

Montreal, March 17, 2019 - A documentary film of 37 minutes, “Years of Fear” was screened at the DeSève Cinema of Concordia University in presence of over 120 spectators from all over Montreal area.

The above-mentioned documentary has been shown in Toronto Diaspora Film Festival, Los Angles and London. It has been a subject of panel discussions in VOA and BBC London (Persian Programs).

Writer, director and producer, Amin Zargham has a long list of documentary films in his credit. This film is his personal experience during 1978 following early revolution years in Iran. This narrative could have also been the voice of millions of human beings who go through persecutions and injustices on this planet every single minute; their voices are silenced; their story has never been heard.

The history of persecution of minorities and underprivileged goes perhaps as far back as the life of humanity on this earth! This present screening was a part of series presentations made at Concordia University concerning Human Rights issues sponsored by various organizations including the Bahá’í Community of Montreal. Documentary films such as “The Gardner” by Makhmalbaf, “Education under Fire” from Amnesty International, “To Light a Candle” by Maziar Behari and “Táhirih, the poetess of Qazvin” by Shabnam Toloui. All presentations were widely covered by Persian Media and News Agencies in Montreal and elsewhere.

The focus of all presentations has been to raise consciousness, that humanity is one and that the differences of colour, race, social status and ethnicity are circumstantial and not fundamental. That every single human being must have the same rights and privileges in the society to grow to the maximum of his or her potential. Simple, perhaps, to understand and complex to apply!

The film, "Years of Fear" is a narrative of personal life events of an Iranian Bahá'í citizen, unfolding a relatively unknown drama of fear in everyday life of almost half a million inhabitants of that country, the largest religious minority undergoing severe persecutions for last 176 years!

The screening followed by enthusiastic applause and warm welcome from the people present in the theatre which included members of the Persian press, university teachers and students. Many questions were asked from the film director, Amin Zargham which reflected the deep impression the narrative left of the mind of everyone present in the theatre. The narration of the film was in Persian with English subtitles.

Amin Zargham completed his education in filmmaking at The School of Television and Cinema in Tehran and in Film Studies at Concordia University in Montreal.

He worked for almost a decade, at the Iranian National Television, as an assistant to the late Film director and poet Fereydoun Rahnema, on his latest work, "The son of Iran is heedless of his mother”, collaborated with Parviz Kimiavi on "Stone Garden" and worked on a TV series entitled "Hands and Designs" with Shokrullah Manzour for the Iranian Heritage Department of the National Iranian Television.

From 1998 to 2008 he collaborated with the BBC Persian Chanel and produced a series of cultural and artistic programs entitled "This Week From New York" and "Cultural Magazine". He also produced two films entitled "Lines of Imagination” exploring the life and art of Hushang Seyhoun, the well-known Iranian architect and another ‘’fromShahyad to Freedom", exploring art and creativity of another Iranian architect, Hossein Amanat. Both documentaries were presented on a TV program called “Tamasha” for the same network.

Amin Zargham is currently the editor of Aasoo, an online Persian web magazine.

Montreal, May 23, 2019 - In Montreal neighborhoods, friends and members of the Bahá'í Community gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the mission of the Báb, the Herald of the Faith. This event, which took place in a modest house in Shiráz 175 years ago, indicates the beginning of the Bahá'í Dispensation or the New Era. Special prayers accompanied by music and historical texts about the events of the Báb's declaration were presented by the Bahá'í friends in collaboration with the children and the youths of the Community.

The opening scene of the initial act of this great drama was laid in the upper chamber of the modest residence of the son of a mercer of Shiraz, in an obscure corner of that city. The time was the hour before sunset, on the 22nd day of May, 1844. The participants were The Báb, a twenty-five year old siyyid*, of pure and holy lineage, and the young Mulla Husayn, the first to believe in Him. Their meeting immediately before that interview seemed to be purely fortuitous. The interview itself was protracted till the hour of dawn. The Host remained closeted alone with His guest, nor was the sleeping city remotely aware of the import of the conversation they held with each other. No record has passed to posterity of that unique night save the fragmentary but highly illuminating account that fell from the lips of Mulla Husayn.

"I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me," he himself has testified, after describing the nature of the questions he had put to his Host and the conclusive replies he had received from Him, replies which had established beyond the shadow of a doubt the validity of His claim to be the promised Qa'im. "Suddenly the call of the Mu'adhdhin*, summoning the faithful to their morning prayer, awakened me from the state of ecstasy into which I seemed to have fallen. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the Almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise -- these I seemed to be experiencing that night. Methinks I was in a place of which it could be truly said: 'Therein no toil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us;' 'no vain discourse shall they hear therein, nor any falsehood, but only the cry, "Peace! Peace!"'; 'their cry therein shall be, "Glory to Thee, O God!" and their salutation therein, "Peace!", and the close of their cry, "Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!"'

Sleep had departed from me that night. I was enthralled by the music of that voice which rose and fell as He chanted; now swelling forth as He revealed verses of the Qayyumu'l-Asma'*, again acquiring ethereal, subtle harmonies as He uttered the prayers He was revealing. At the end of each invocation, He would repeat this verse: 'Far from the glory of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, be that which His creatures affirm of Him! And peace be upon His Messengers! And praise be to God, the Lord of all beings!'"

"This Revelation," Mulla Husayn has further testified, "so suddenly and impetuously thrust upon me, came as a thunderbolt which, for a time, seemed to have benumbed my faculties. I was blinded by its dazzling splendor and overwhelmed by its crushing force. Excitement, joy, awe, and wonder stirred the depths of my soul. Predominant among these emotions was a sense of gladness and strength which seemed to have transfigured me. How feeble and impotent, how dejected and timid, I had felt previously! Then I could neither write nor walk, so tremulous were my hands and feet. Now, however, the knowledge of His Revelation had galvanized my being. I felt possessed of such courage and power that were the world, all its peoples and its potentates, to rise against me, I would, alone and undaunted, withstand their onslaught. The universe seemed but a handful of dust in my grasp. I seemed to be the voice of Gabriel personified, calling unto all mankind: 'Awake, for, lo! the morning Light has broken. Arise, for His Cause is made manifest. The portal of His grace is open wide; enter therein, O peoples of the world! For He Who is your promised One is come!'"

… With this historic Declaration, the dawn of an Age that signalizes the consummation of all ages had broken.

 

* Siyyid: seyyed, descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

* Mu'adhdhin: muezzin, clergyman or any other Muslim who, from the top of a minaret, calls the believers to prayer five times a day.

* Qayyùmu'l-Asmà ': famous commentary on the surah of joseph, in the Qur’án. The first chapter was revealed during the night when Mullá Husayn met the Báb. It is for Muslims one of the most important proofs of the authenticity of the Bab as a prophet.

Photo : Celebration in Saint-Laurent neighbourhood

Montreal, February 16, 2019 – The Bahá’í Community of Montreal was the host of a group of 18 youths from Calgary who spent three days in this city to visit the Bahá’í Shrine (Maxwell home), where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in 1912. They were warmly welcome by the Montreal youths as well as the local Bahá’í Administrative Body at the Montreal Centre on Saturday evening. A special program was organized to acquaint the group with the Bahá’í sites associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Montreal, the only city He visited in Canada during ten days.

This group of youths was the first to visit the Montreal Bahá’í sites under the new administrative committee recently appointed by the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly and the fourth group of visitors who came to Montreal in previous years as “Pilgrims”.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá called Maxwell home as His home and spent almost all his evenings in this location giving talks and receiving guests. Maxwell home is the only Bahá’í Shrine - addressed as such by the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi-Effendi - in Western Hemisphere.

The group spent as many hours as it was possible in the Shrine devoting much time to prayers and meditation in this sacred spot. They visited Saint James United Church where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a public talk on September 5, 1912. That September day at Windsor Hotel, Archbishop Louis Joseph Paul Bruchési of Montreal came to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá and to express his pleasure and gratitude for "his words about the purpose of the manifestation of Christ and the other saints." 'Abdu'l-Bahá invited the archbishop, a member of the Catholic clergy who was very interested in Orientals, to attend his public lecture at St. James Methodist Church later that day. 'Abdu'l-Bahá received other visitors during the day, including a Jewish rabbi and the editor of an "illustrated magazine" published in Toronto. The Master's list of visitors that day represented a wide range of organizations, religions and social groups.

St. James was the largest Methodist church in the world with 2,700 seats. The Maxwell brothers had made the interior design. A luminous sign announced that the "prophet of the East" would deliver a lecture on the principles of the Bahá'í Faith and "the salvation of humanity.” 'Abdu'l-Bahá did not like this title, and expressed his concern at the habit people had to call him ‘prophet’. In his speech, he corrected this error, pointing out that he was not a prophet, but simply 'Abdu'l-Bahá, which translates freely as ‘servant of Glory’.

A crowd of 1,200 people arose when 'Abdu'l-Bahá entered the church. Reverend Herbert Simmons, the Anglican vicar of Christ Church Cathedral, introduced him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá first spoke of "Bahá'í principles for the happiness of the human race.” He followed with the religious teachings of his Father. The next day, the Montreal Gazette mentioned in an article that during his presentation, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had called for "independent investigation" of religious truth by everyone. He had argued that the absence of such independent investigation drove people to resentment and dissension in the world.

Following 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s talk, the pastor stood up and said, "It would be wrong to believe that the West has reached perfection and that the East has neither blessings nor lessons to offer to the World. In his talk, 'Abdu'l-Bahá mentioned several things that we had not heard or understood before. "

Among the people present at the church was Robert Stanley Weir, a Montreal judge and poet most famous for writing the English lyrics to "O Canada", the national anthem of Canada.  Judge Weir mentioned repeatedly that evening his desire to become a Bahá'í.

The Calgary youth attended the Sunday Devotional gathering at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre. Their voices and prayers set to music created an atmosphere of uplifting spirituality. Their prayers will accompany the Sunday Devotional gatherings for many months to come. The visit to places associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued in the afternoon. They toured Windsor train station, the Basilica Mary Queen of the World as well as Windsor Hotel. Windsor station where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train arrived from Boston on August 31, 1912, went through several transformations since it was built in 1887 by a New York City architectural firm. The third expansion of the station, in 1916, included a fifteen-storey tower which dramatically altered Montreal's skyline. The project was entrusted to the firm of brothers Edward and William Maxwell architects.

The Basilica Mary Queen of the World, a smaller scale model of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, was built in 1894. On Saturday, August 31, while touring the city in the afternoon, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stopped at the Basilica and, standing in front of the door, he pointed out to the friends who accompanied him, "This is the result of what the eleven disciples have been able to accomplish. I urge you to walk in their footsteps. When a person is detached, he can revolutionize the whole world. "

The final stage of the tour was a visit to Northern Annex of Windsor Hotel, a section which survived the fire of 1957. The Windsor Hotel (opened 1878, closed 1981) is often considered to be the first grand hotel in Canada, and for decades billed itself as "the best in all the Dominion". The building and the three-room suite where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed on the seventh floor of the Windsor Hotel is now replaced by the CIBC tower in the corner of Peel and René-Lévesque. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá moved to the hotel on September 2nd’ 1912. On the afternoon of that day, eminent professors, pastors and members of the press gathered at the hotel. A Toronto Weekly Star reporter asked 'Abdu'l-Bahá if he intended to visit Toronto or another Canadian city. He replied that it would be impossible and added: "You can tell your people that your country delights me. It is a beautiful and prosperous land [...] "

'Abdu'l-Bahá stayed at the Windsor Hotel at the same time as Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, who was returning from a successful trip to Britain. The year 1912 marked almost a century of peace between Great Britain and the United States. After a parade of about two kilometres, with fireworks and brass bands, the Prime Minister moved to the Windsor Hotel. There is no indication that 'Abdu'l-Bahá met him, either accidentally or at the sumptuous reception at the hotel for the prime minister, but it is remarkable that these two individuals stayed at the same hotel at the same time.

One day, reading the mail arriving from the East, 'Abdu'l-Bahá observed:

"Yes, the scope and magnitude of these trips are not yet known, but they will be apparent later. As our only intention was to offer our devotion to the threshold of the only true God, we were assisted, and the light of God's grace and favour appeared. "

Montreal, April 21, 2019 – Bahá’ís from all over Montreal gathered at the Bahá’í Centre to take part in the election of their Spiritual Assembly. Likewise, in thousands of localities around the globe on that day, the first day of Riḍván, Bahá’ís vote for their local governing councils. Throughout the 12-day festival of Riḍván, national conventions are held in some 180 countries and territories, during which delegates gather to vote for their National Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member council responsible for guiding, coordinating, and stimulating the activities of the Bahá’ís in its jurisdiction. Bahá’í elections are distinct for their lack of nomination and campaigning. The members elected this year are: Arash Saidi, Stan Phillips, Monique Richer-Gosselin, Aaron Daley, Janie Cardinal-Fernandes, Nima Naimi, Josée Cardinal, Baudouin Makasi Kutuka et Keyvan Mahjoor.

During the consultation period, many participants enthusiastically committed themselves to persevere in the direction the Bahá’í community is taking in their efforts to enhance the vitality of spiritual and social life in their neighbourhoods, foster participation by more and more people in activities that serve to counter passivity and lethargy of social forces that are, today, especially damaging to young people. Bahá’ís understand their work to be their contribution to the construction of a better world through the development of a culture of service in which universal participation of all members of the human family becomes the standard of justice and social progress.

The contributions to the deliberations at this Montreal Bahá’í Community gathering reflected several of the issues in the Baha’i plans, noting that today, more than ever, the world needs to counter the divisive social constructs that separate people, as well as overcome the passivity and lethargy that materialism and a superficial culture of entertainment has generated in society.

"Every contribution Bahá'ís make to the life of their society is aimed at fostering unity; every community-building endeavour is directed towards the same end."  - Riḍván 2017, Letter from the Universal House of Justice

Today, the festival of Riḍván is the most joyous of Bahá'í holy days. In villages, towns, and cities around the world, Baha'i communities celebrate these special days with gatherings open to all.

The Riḍván period was also a time when Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the foundational spiritual principles that lie at the heart of His teachings—signaling the arrival of a new stage in the evolution of the life of humanity, characterized by peace and an end to violence.

This annual festival of 12 days (April 20 to May 2) marks the anniversary of the days Bahá'u'lláh spent in a garden on the banks of the River Tigris in Baghdad in 1863. During those days, many of His admirers in the city came to bid Him farewell. Bahá'u'lláh announced to the friends gathered with Him that He was God's Messenger for a new age, foretold in the world's scriptures. He called the garden they were gathered in "Riḍván" meaning "paradise."

Riḍván, together with the Declaration of the Báb, are designated by Bahá'u'lláh as “the two Most Great Festivals” and are attributed according significance in the Bahá'í calendar and celebrated as such in the Bahá'í world. The 1st, 9th and 12th days of Riḍván are considered Holy Days, on which work should be suspended and the festival of Riḍván is celebrated every year from the 13th of the month of Jalál to the 5th of the month of Jamál according to the Bahá'í calendar. 

* Photo : Garden of Riḍván, archives of « la bibliothèque nationale », Paris

Montreal, February 15, 2019 – A crowd of friends and family gathered at Rideau Memorial Gardens to say farewell and pay tributes to a soul who dedicated her life to enlightenment.

Gently in her sleep, Laura Semple Everett, passed away on Friday, February 8, after almost a decade long battle with bv-ftd.

She was brought up in a family of three brothers and a sister, surrounded by a deep love for art and artistic expressions. Her mother Veronique is an accomplished artist painter herself; she tried to teach all her children a deep love and understanding for art and music. Laura was a mystic explorer from her early childhood and tried to translate her explorations through her paintings. Roy, the elder of her brothers reminisced that when they were going to painting classes, he was the first to paint his canvas whereas Laura took days to work with the nuances and colours to reflect her inspiration.

After finishing her university degree at Concordia, Laura quickly realized the importance of Digital Art and was one of the early pioneers in Montreal to explore this field. She learned “Softimage”, a complex 3D Unix based software developed on Silicon Graphic High Performance Computers. This software eventually was used to produce epic movies such as Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Titanic and many more.

Laura found the Bahá’í Faith early in her life perhaps during her High School years at Westmount High! Her teacher was John Guinty, a Bahá’í from Westmount Community. Laura found the Bahá’í Teachings in harmony with her spiritual growth and express it in a 22-page document addressed to the Universal House of Justice!

As she grew in Faith, her artistic vision developed further. She painted a fairly large abstract painting of thousands of hues and shades of orange colour which she wanted to be hand-delivered to the Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khánum in Haifa, Israel. This was done in an extraordinary manner causing long conversations about the Faith through answering hundreds of questions from Israeli security agents in Montreal, Frankfurt, Tel-Aviv and Haifa!

Through her life, Laura always believed that love transcends all states of being. That our most inner soul is cosmic light and love. Through this love you find courage, strength, guidance and harmony with all. That the unity of our hearts, minds and spirits is reflected in all that is, and our most important quest in life is to unite together and share our kind and gentle love.

Laura had requested her family and friends to wear “light and bright” attire during her funeral service and celebrate her journey towards the Beloved with happiness and songs. And it was done as she wished, with flowers, songs and a message from the Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa:

“….the news of the passing of Laura Semple-Everett, has been received at the Bahá’í World Centre. Rest assured of the supplications of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines for the progress of her soul throughout the worlds of God. Prayers will also be offered for the comfort and solace of her family members and loved ones at this time of bereavement.”

Laura was indeed a gentle, sweet and loving human being! A unique soul in the Worlds of God!

Montreal, April 7, 2013 - On the occasion of “The 2019 Volunteer Recognition Brunch”, a delegation from the Laurentian Bahá'í Community and dozens of other community organizations were invited to the “Centre des loisirs”, the Community Centre, by the Borough of Saint-Laurent.

Mayor Alan DeSousa and Borough Councilors received over 300 people who represented more than 70 volunteer organizations in Saint-Laurent during the 23rdVolunteer's Brunch. Thanks to our volunteers, remarked in his thank-you speech, the Mayor stressed the importance of community work and its influence on peace and tranquility in this borough.

During the recognition ceremony, photos of the activities of the Bahá'í youth and children, some Community events and the objectives behind our activities to improve society, were presented to the public in the form of a slideshow on a large screen!

The Borough of Saint-Laurent includes some 70 ethnic groups, the largest diversity in Montréal. Over one hundred languages and dialects are spoken in this Borough. 53% of the population is composed of immigrants! More than half of the residents of the borough can carry a conversation in both English and French (59%). French, however, remains the most widely spoken language in the home, although English and Arabic are used on a daily basis by a large number of people.

The Volunteer Recognition Brunch aims to highlight the many initiatives being undertaken by community organizations over the past year.

The Borough of Saint-Laurent has many socio-community organizations working in various fields of activity such as employment, education, housing, food security, etc.

 

 

Bookstore

 

The Bahá’í Bookstore hours are:
Wednesday to Friday: 3pm-7pm
Saturday: 1pm-5pm
Sunday: 1pm-5pm
Monday and Tuesday: Closed

 

Bahá'í Center

 

177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
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Phone: 514-849-0753

Click here for map and hours

 

 

Montreal Shrine

 

1548, av des Pins O, Montreal
Phone: 514-939-2262

Click here for map and hours

 

S5 Box