Sarah J. Farmer: One of America’s Great Religious Innovators 1
It was that doctor, Edward S. Cowles, who sat in the front seat of the automobile on Tuesday, August 20, 1912, keeping watch lest the crowd at Green Acre swarm the car and remove Miss Farmer from his control. Although she had been away for three years, he didn’t even let her set foot on Green Acre’s grounds. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá got into the car and it whisked them off to Sunset Hill, a high plateau on the other side of Eliot that Miss Farmer had named Monsalvat after the sacred mountain in Wagner’s Parsifal where they kept the Holy Grail. Here she had planned to build a university and a second Bahá’í House of Worship, like the one whose cornerstone ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had laid near Chicago in May.
“When we were almost at the top of the hill,” an eyewitness on that day reported, “‘Abdu’l-Bahá took Miss Farmer’s hands in his and said very loudly, ‘This is hallowed ground made so by your vision and sacrifice.’”
It was important, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, that Sarah Farmer visualize the great university her efforts had made possible. He told Miss Farmer that the university would be built, the eyewitness said; he extended his arms to indicate that it would cover the whole plateau. Then he pointed to a spot where he said the House of Worship would eventually be raised.
Finally, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned again to Miss Farmer: “You will be revered above all American women one fine day,” he told her.
Green Acre 2
On the day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Green Acre, Friday, August 23, He said, “‘We have finished our work here. We have sown the seeds. Many of the souls are attracted and will be changed.’” On the way our of town at 10:00 A.M., they stopped at Sarah Farmer’s home to say good-bye. She fell weeping at His feet.
17 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine 3
Likewise, the divine bounties of the Sun of Reality are perpetual. Its light is forever shining. Its love is forever radiating. Its bounty never ceases. It could not be said that the power and effulgence of God was ever subject to cessation. It could not be claimed that the divinity of the Almighty One had come to an end. For the divinity of God is eternal. Therefore, the divine bounties—whether phenomenal and accidental or spiritual and ideal—are perpetual.
It has become a second paradise on earth and had been transformed into verdancy and freshness. 4
In the morning, while the Master was preparing to leave, He said:
We have finished our work here. We have sown a seed. Many souls have been attracted and transformed. Every day we have seen gifts such as fruit, flowers, honey and sweets which have been placed here anonymously and without show. This is a proof of the sincerity of their hearts.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was delighted to witness the influence of the Word of God on Green Acre. Indeed, it has become a second paradise on earth and had been transformed into verdancy and freshness.
At His instructions, the suitcases were packed and the carriage readied. The believers and seekers were burning with the fire of love, lamenting and shedding tears. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sat in the carriage while the friends lined both sides of the road. For as long as the carriage remained in sight, they continued to wave their hats and handkerchiefs in farewell. On the way He stopped to visit Miss Farmer, who fell at His feet weeping and received from the Master His infinite favor and utmost kindness.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Green Acre at 10:00 a.m. and reached Malden, Massachusetts, at 1:00 p.m. He arrived at the home of Miss [Marie P.] Wilson, whose invitation to stay at her house He had accepted. A new spirit was breathed into the bodies and a divine happiness was shed upon the hearts.
As He was tired, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not eat but instead rested for awhile.
In the afternoon and evening many friends were honored with meeting Him.
- Menon, Jonathan. “Sarah J. Farmer: One of America’s Great Religious Innovators.” 239 Days in America, 23 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/23/sarah-j-farmer-american-religious-innovator/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 130. [return]
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 273. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#366189219 [return]
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section152 [return]