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May Maxwell (1870-1940) Beloved Handmaid of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

May Maxwell (1870-1940) Beloved Handmaid of 'Abdu'l-Baha
Paris Paris 1900

May Maxwell was one of the earliest and most distinguished Bahá’ís of the West.

May was taught the faith by Lua Getsinger in Paris. Mrs. Phoebe Hearst invited May to accompany her and other Bahá’ís to the Holy Land to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Head of the Bahá’í Faith.

She later wrote of the first meeting she had with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

We could not remove our eyes from His glorious face: we heard all He said; we drank tea with Him at His bidding; but existence seemed suspended, and when He arose and suddenly left us we came back with a start to life: but never again, thank God, to the same life on this earth!
—An Early Pilgrimage, p. 12.

May was the mother of Mary Maxwell (1910-2000) who married Shoghi Effendi Rabbani (1897-1957) and was given the title ‘Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum.

May died in 1940 while pioneering the Bahá’í Faith in Buenos Aires.