Montreal, August 30, 2019 – Late afternoon, on August 26, a devoted maid-servant of the Blessed Beauty, closed her eyes to this ephemeral world and winged her flight to the worlds beyond! She was surrounded by her family and friends until her last breath of life!

She was affectionately called Pari Joun by members of her family and was dearly loved by everybody in Montreal Bahá’í Community. Her family moved to this city in early 1967 and served the Community with utmost devotion and sincerity.

Pari Hashemi, née Hakim Rashidian was born on May 24, 1924 in Tehran, Iran to Mustafa Hakim Rashidian and Houri Nazerian. She had two brothers and two sisters. From all accounts she was a very playful, smart young girl with a great sense of humor. She got married to Rashid Hashemi in 1943. From this marriage two daughters were born, Otessa and Gretta. Mr and Mrs Hashemi, both were descendants of early Bahá’ís from the time of Bahá’u’lláh.

The family pioneered to Turkey during the Ten Year World Spiritual Crusade (1953–1963), launched by the Guardian, Shoghi-Effendi and then to Cyprus, where they formed the first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Nicosia.

A cablegram from the Guardian Shoghi-Effendi was received following the election of the above Assembly, addressed to Hashemi family : “… through your endeavours, the Devil’s Island* was transformed to an island of Mercy!” 

They also spent time living in England and Ireland, eventually moving back to Iran where she managed a very successful Beauty Salon with clienteles from royal family down to general public! A call for pioneers from the Bahá’í World Centre moved Hashemi family to leave Iran prior to the revolution in 1978 and eventually settle in Montreal, Canada.

Shortly after arriving in Montreal around 1967-68, the family settled in Saint-Laurent where they participated in the establishment of the first Local Spiritual Assembly. Their house was a center of attraction for those who sought to know the Faith. A number of the first Montreal Bahá'ís accepted the Faith in their home.

They moved to Montreal later and helped with the Community activities. Mr Hashemi was elected to the Montreal Local Assembly where he served for many years. He also served as Bookstore manager for several years.

Pari’s devotion to the Faith was such that when the Montreal Spiritual Assembly decided to buy the present Bahá’í Centre and there was not enough funds available to purchase the property, she was the first to volunteer to mortgage her home along with Raymond Flournoy to generate the required amount for this purpose! The widow of the Gradian of the Bahá’í Faith, Rúhíyyih Khánum, also contributed generously to purchase that property.

Pari was appointed to a committee in charge of the management of the newly purchased Bahá’í Centre of Montreal at 177 avenue des Pins Est! She served in that capacity until she had enough physical strength to take care of cleanliness and every day organization of the Centre. She has been seen scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees, as much as her strength permitted in her advanced age, to keep the Centre clean and pleasant for the Community. Her beautifully decorated home also was open to friend and foe. Numerous people from all walks of life as well as the City dignitaries enjoyed her Persian feasts!

First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Nicosia, Cyprus, October 1959. Pari is sitting on the left and Rashid is standing at the middle of photo.

Pari Hashemi always preached the importance of education and Faith. She taught her children and her grand-children to respect friends, family, peers as well as the value of proper etiquette. She was the epitome of grace and elegance; a great storyteller, who spoke often of her life experiences, her friends and family and of her early days in Tehran.

Her house was like a museum, everything was meticulously placed in its exact location, always clean and not even a hint of dust on anything. She was a devout advocate of health and exercises and she practised what she preached every morning until practically the end of her life.

Pari’s health started to deteriorate since her younger daughter Gretta passed away in 2012. Mother and daughter worked together in a business endeavour for several years, travelled together and enjoyed each other’s company. With Gretta’s departure from this nether world, Pari lost the desire to continue life. She was in deep sorrow in her solitude and she would come out of that state momentarily whenever her friends went to visit her.

She planned her after life very carefully too! Since Gretta invested her life on the education of children by starting children classes at the Bahá’í Centre in Montreal in 1986, both mother and daughter invested in this worthy cause by donating all their wealth to the education of the World Children. Pari wanted to have a small funeral ceremony only with her family and few friends she herself had chosen in order to save money for the above mentioned Cause.

Pari leaves behind her daughter Otessa, her grand-daughter Rochana, her grand-son Darius and four great-grand-children, Nyllah, Dalia, Rayne and Olivia. She is now reunited in the Worlds of God with her husband Rashid and her daughter Gretta! Her stories and her memories will keep her alive forever in the hearts of the Montreal Bahá’í Community.


*Apparently Cyprus has been called Devil’s Island at one point in the history!


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