Lighting the Western Sky
That journey of fifteen souls during the winter of 1898–1899 has come to be recognised as a pivotal event in the history of the Bahá'í Faith; more than a pilgrimage – a turning point that would have far-reaching implications many centuries into the future for millions of people.
Based on all available sources, including handwritten journals and letters never previously published, this story is not a mere recounting of history, it is a tale that inspires and instructs. Those privileged to take part in the first Western pilgrimage were, in the main, ordinary people with extraordinary spiritual insight. With almost no resources available to them, they took what they gained from their time in the Holy Land, established the Faith in Europe and reestablished the American Bahá'í community on a rock-solid foundation.
Above all, the Hearst pilgrimage provides a brief glimpse of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself and how patiently and lovingly He nurtured those from America and Europe whose religious background and ethnic culture were so different from the main body of Eastern believers at the time. The lessons he taught during that winter, the messages he conveyed, still resonate today, for he saw the end in the beginning. These were not simply fifteen pilgrims; they were the vanguard of waves of the whole of humanity. Their achievements will remain an inspiration to all future generations.