A Pilgrimage Excerpt from the Story of Jeanne Kranen

This is a translation by Marion of a Dutch language document ‘Stuk engels van Het verhaal van Jeanne Kranen‘ obtained from the Bahá’í Archives of the Netherlands by the national archivist of the National Bahá’í Archives, Cyprus.

Jeanne Kranen was a Dutch pioneer to Cyprus in the earliest days of our community. She taught the Faith to the first Turkish Cypriot believer, Hassan Sasmaz. These notes originally came (as indicated in the document) from the archives in the Hague and were translated from Dutch to English by one of our Dutch believers here in Cyprus who is married to a Cypriot, so not a pioneer, but very well respected former tourist guide here. I thought you might like to post these notes as they are quite interesting about Jeanne’s time in Haifa.

Translated by a family friend about 10 years ago, and shared with permission. [-Anita Graves, 2023]

A pilgrimage excerpt from the Story of Jeanne Kranen

In February 1955, while living in Cyprus, Jeanne Kranen sailed from Famagusta, Cyprus, to Haifa
her Bahá’í Pilgrimage. In Haifa harbour she was met by a woman who was sent by one Mrs. Rabbani
to see to her cares. Jeanne found this a bit strange but went along. A taxi was taken care of and so Jeanne
arrived at the Western Pilgrim house. She was welcomed by Sylvia, the wife of Leroy Ioas, the secretary
of Shoghi Effendi; she spoke with him and also with Mason Remey.

After that, she was welcomed by Mrs. Rabbani and then she discovered that this was Ruhiyyih
Khanum. They went to the gardens and in the evening they would meet Shoghi Effendi. Everyone was
sitting around the table, Jeanne to the left of Shoghi Effendi. Dinner started; all kinds of dishes were
served, but Jeanne said: “No thank you, no fish…no thank you, no this and that..” Then Shoghi Effendi
asked: “Do you eat at all?” Jeanne explained that for health reasons she had to eat vegetarian food for a
while. Then Shoghi Effendi took his own plate , with a dish especially prepared for him, and put some of
his food on Jeanne’s plate.

When Jeanne joined the dinner table again the next day a conversation was going on of which she
didn’t understand much. Suddenly Shoghi Effendi asked: “And Jeanne, what do you think about this?”
She said she had not followed the conversation. Instead she asked what the funny pieces of string that she
had seen hanging everywhere were for. Then Shoghi Effendi burst into laughter and everyone at the
dinner table laughed. Jeanne didn’t understand what made the people laugh. Shoghi Effendi then told her,
that the peaces of string marked the future stairs of the Archives Building. After dinner Shoghi Effendi
left and Ruhiyyih Khanum came up to her, embraced and kissed her, and said: “O Jeanne, do you know
what you have done? Shoghi Effendi has been so depressed for two or three months, that we have not
seen him laugh all this time. Now you, by what you have said, made him laugh!”

That evening in her room in the pilgrim house, Jeanne realized that the pilgrimage would last for
nine days, but her boat to Cyprus would sail after twelve days. She did not have money for the three days.
So she decided to write Ruhiyyih Khanum to ask Shoghi Effendi what Jeanne should do in those three
days. The next day she saw Ruhiyyih Khanum who said: “now again you made us laugh. Shoghi Effendi
said that if you don’t have money, you can stay here under condition that you prepare for him such a
delightful bowl of raw vegetables as you prepared for him the other day.”

In those days it was customary that the Persian ladies would visit Shoghi Effendi in the afternoon.
The pilgrims would also come to the house of the Master. First the ladies would drink tea with Ruhiyyih
Khanum, the Europeans on one side of the room, the Persian ladies on the other. At one moment one of
the Persian ladies dropped something. Jeanne bent over to pick it up and hand it to the lady with some
words in Persian. Now that was completely out of the ordinary. The Persian ladies immediately asked her
to come and sit with them.

After the Persian ladies had left, Ruhiyyih Khanum called for her and said: “You know, in all
those years that we have these gatherings there have been only two people, and now you, who showed
they were human, not Western or Eastern, but human.”

One day Ruhiyyih Khanum had to go somewhere and asked Jeanne to take her place to pour the
tea when the Persian ladies came. So in this way Jeanne was hostess in the house of the Master.
After twelve days, with Jeanne on board, the boat sailed back to Cyprus.

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