Shoghi Effendi - Recollections - by Ugo Giachery

From the inside front and back covers:

The author of these ‘Recollections’ has written, not a biography, but his personal experiences of Shoghi EEendi (1896-1957) who, on the death of his Grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Baha, in 1921, found himself Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.

For thirty-six years, Shoghi Effendi bore the daunting responsibilities of his office, guiding and encouraging the Baha’is to carry the Revelation of Baha’u’llah to every part of the globe. During the last nine years of his life he developed in Haifa, on Mt. Carmel and in neighhouring 'Akka, the spiritual and administrative institutions of the World Centre of the Faith. It was Dr. Giachery's privilege and fortune to participate in nearly every aspect of these mighty undertakings, and his account of the work done in Italy for the erection of the golden-domed superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab and the International Archives on Mt. Carmel is unique. His inspired and loyal support of these projects was highly valued and commended by Shoghi EfIendi.

Although, of necessity, he lived in Italy during those years, Dr. Giachery visited Haifa on several occasions and spent a number of months there. Thus, the account he gives us of Shoghi Effendi is at first hand. It is a perceptive, affectionate and intimate portrayal of the gallant and self-sacrificing Guardian. And because those who served him so closely were few and their stories mostly unpublished, these recollections, so precious now, will forever win the gratitude of posterity. In the words of his fellow Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land, 'Your recollections have made the Guardian "come alive" in all the majesty and greatness of his station and his accomplishments.'

Ugo Giachery, born and educated in Palermo, Sicily, pursued a widely varied course of studies, receiving from the Royal University of Palermo a doctorate in chemistry, in which subject he engaged in teaching and research and published a number of papers. He served with distinction in the First World War. After living in the United States for some years, he and his wife returned to Italy in 1947 as pioneer teachers of the Baha’i Faith. From then on his, career was one of continuing distinguished services.

In 1948 he was appointed by Shoghi Eifendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, his personal representative for all the work in Italy associated with the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab on Mt. Carmel. It was this service which brought him the immortal honour of having the south-western door of the original Shrine named after him as 'Bab-i-Giachery'.

In 1951 Shoghi Effendi appointed Dr. Giachery Hand of the Cause of God, and in 1952 'Member at Large’ of the International Baha’i Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. In 1953 he became chairman of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Italy and Switzerland.

Dr. Giachery was the Guardian’s ‘special representative’ at the Intercontinental Conferences in Stockholm in 1953 and Chicago in 1958, and for a number of years was Baha’i Observer to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in Geneva. He also translated Baha’i literature into Italian and is the author of several articles on the Baha’i Faith.

In 1954, work began on Baha’i International Archives building on Mt. Carmel, and once again Dr. Giachery became the Guardian’s personal representative in Italy. The completion of the building in 1957 brought much satisfaction to Shoghi Effendi in the last months of his

Dr. Giachcry's personal and distinguished services have been enlisted more than once by the Universal House of Justice, notably when it appointed him its representative at the great Baha’i Conference in Palermo in 1968. Indeed for more than a quarter of a century he has travelled extensively to all continents of the globe on behalf of the Baha’i Faith. His eternal fame is assured through his association with the Guardian and by the fact that one of the doors of the Shrine of the Bab bears his name.

Table of Contents

PREFACE

PART I
The Personality of Shoghi Effendi
I   AN APPRECIATION
II  PILGR IMIMPRESSIONS
III HIS SPIRITUAL VIRTUES
     His great faith
     The Guardian and the man
     His humility and selflessness
     His involuntary connection with the Divine Source
     His eagerness
     His perseverance
     His generosity
IV HIS LITERARY GIFTS
     Translations
     Original literary work
     As historian
     Correspondence
     His artistic ingenuity
PART II

The World Centre of the Faith of Baha'u'llah
V BIRTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORLD CENTRE
VI TIIE QUEEN OF CARMEL
VII THE SUPERSTRUCTURE OF THE SHRINE OF THE BAB
     The Arcade
     The Octagon
     The Drum or Clerestory
     The Crown and the Dome
VIII THE GARDENS SURROUNDING THE SHRINE OF THE BAB
IX THE GARDEN NURSERIES
X PILGRIMAGE TO THE SHRINE OF BAHA’U’LLAH
XI THE GARDENS AT BAHJI
XII EMBELLISHMENTS TO THE SHRINE OF BAHA'U'LLAH
XIII THE MANSION OF BAHJI
XIV THE INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES
     The Nature of the Archives
     The Project Begins
     Plans Become a Reality

XV THE FIRST MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR OF THE HOLY LAND
     The Obelisk

EPILOGUE
     Events connected with the passing of Shoghi Effendi
     The Sepulchre of Shoghi Effendi

APPENDICES
I Early Descriptions of Shoghi Effendi
II Letters to Angeline Giachery
III The Writings of Shoghi Effendi
IV Genealogy of Shoghi Effendi
     The Family of the Bab
V The War in Africa
VI The Tablet of Carmel
VII Guido M. Fabbricotti, the Marble Firm
VIII Giacomo Barozzi, the Architect Vignola
IX Names of the Doors of the Shrine of the Bab
X Andrea Palladio, Founder of Neo-Classic Architecture
XI Plants Used by Shoghi Effendi

GLOSSARY OF ARCHITECTURAL AND BUILDING TERMS
REFERENCES
INDEX

Preface


The date of November 4th, 1957, will remain for the author of these Recollections the day of anguish, of sorrow and bewilderment. In a modest hotel in the city of London, the earthly, fruitful life of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, came abruptly, and unexpectedly, to an end. To the writer, it was as if the light of wisdom, solace and righteousness had been extinguished forever: something similar to an apocalyptic darkening of this planet.

A radiant and useful existence had suddenly ceased, leaving a multitude of co-religionists throughout the world stunned and grief-stricken. It was an unequalled and widespread feeling of despair and irremediable loss that filled the hearts with a poignant pain that could never cease; the end of an age of comfort and assurance, of light-hearted joy, the joy of one's adolescent years, when dreams, aspirations and idealism came into existence from the tranquil life revolving around the unity of the family, with its power of love and security, the source of our inspiration, fortitude and strength.

The greatest gift received from the Omnipotent, during my lifetime, was the privilege of being closely associated with Shoghi Effendi for a number of years. No words will ever be able to describe the depth of my devotion and of my abiding love for him, nor the transformation I underwent under the influence of his warm and tender affection; an influence that changed my character, my outlook on life, my habits, and opened my eyes to the unending vista of new aspirations and horizons.

In later years, I have felt the urge to communicate to others the power of his love; thus the decision to write down some of my observations and experiences. It is a recollection, however inadequate -- an effort to render him due justice and to recall for others the life of such a unique and precious personage. I sincerely trust that future scholars will undertake to produce a detailed life history of him whom I consider to be the 'true man of the century'.

Much merit for my efforts goes to my dear wife, Angeline, who with her encouragement and patience has guided me to the completion of the manuscript. Deep thanks and appreciation go to our dear friend Beatrice Owens Ashton, for her many suggestions and the reviewing of the text, to Marion Hofman for her skilful editing, and to the painter Reza Samimi for his extraordinary and moving crayon portrait of Shoghi Effendi. My sincere thanks go also to the hosts of friends who have urged me to put in writing what I have verbally expressed in Baha'i gatherings in various continents of the world. It is my hope that the reading of these Recollections will enkindle and strengthen, in the hearts of many, a deep love and admiration for Shoghi Effendi, that we may all dedicate our lives, as he did, to the service of the Cause of God which he so greatly loved, and that we may emulate him in placing such services ahead of any personal motives or restraint.

UGO GIACHERY