‘Abdu’l-Baha Still Inspires Contributions to New York’s Bowery Mission

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the Bowery Mission on April 19, 1912, and His distribution of silver quarters to some 400 to 500 men inspired students in the Wilmette Institute’s course on ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America in a special way.

Several pledged to walk the same route ‘Abdu’l-Baha took to the Bowery, one hundred years to the day after His visit. They and others pledged to make donations to the Bowery Mission in His honor.

Contributing to the interest in the Bowery Mission was an article written by celebrity journalist and caricaturist Kate Carew, who interviewed ‘Abdu’l-Baha at the Hotel Ansonia and penned several sketches of Him.

During the interview ‘Abdu’l-Baha invited Carew to accompany Him to the Bowery, a visit arranged in advance by Juliet Thompson. By the end of the evening Carew, whom Jonathan Menon on the 239days website calls the Barbara Walters of her day “with a sketchbook,” was considerably subdued and ended her article by calling ‘Abdu’l-Baha the “Breeze of God.”

When ‘Abdu’l-Baha visited the Bowery Mission, established in 1879, it had already seen 33 years of service to those in need (see http://www.bowery.org). A cursory look at the list of programs that the Bowery operates shows that this dedicated institution continues to walk the path of service 100 years after ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit and 133 years after its founding.

Faculty member Dr. Anne Perry had recently visited the Bowery Mission and shared a photograph of the chapel in which ‘Abdu’l-Baha had spoken. His April 19 talk is recorded in The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pages 32–34, and may also be found at http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PUP/pup-13.html.

A fuller account  of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s interview with Kate Carew can be found in Allan L. Ward’s 239 Days: ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Journey in America and an analytic account in Robert H. Stockman’s new book entitled‘Abdu’l-Baha in America.

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