Doris Francis from Antigua talks about attending her first celebration of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. This story is from an interview taken of her in 1995 by Pat Paccassi.
My first experience of the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, was when we met at the Simmons (Al and Paula) house. They lived out in the Village. And I won’t forget when she said, “ We’ll meet at three o’clock at the morning.” Three o’clock in the morning! So I said to the friends, Gloria-Jean Edwards, Irene Benjamin, I said to them “I will call you and we’ll go out to the Simmons to celebrate the Ascension of Baha’u’llah” That was the first time, as a Baha’i, I had the privilege to do so. It was 1978 (1976?), the first time after becoming a Baha’i, that I was aware that this is how we celebrate that.
Oh, that experience was out of this world! Because this was all new, this was wonderful, really wonderful. I can relive coming back from there, the morning was beautiful. I went up to Irene’s home and I knocked, and I told her, “You know, it’s time for us to get ready to go out.”, because we had decided we were going to meet and celebrate this, and I wanted to know more about it. Never before has anyone in my religion celebrated the ascension of the Manifestation of God in that manner. So I went, I knocked on Irene’s door, got her up, then I went down to Gloria Jean, called her, and I came back, Irene was ready, then we went and we picked up Gloria Jean, and all three of us walked over to Paula and Al’s home. I followed them out to the end of the Village, which to us was a good walk, a long, good walk. So we had the celebration there, and we had refreshments, I can’t remember if it was coffee or tea, but as we walked back here, the dawn was breaking. That’s what I remember most. I am an early riser, and I love that time of the day. You know, some people would say that’s an ungodly hour. To see the sky lighten, and as we were coming in, us three women, I tell you, I felt as though I was walking on air, because this was different. I guess, probably these were some of the things that, for me, cemented me in the Faith. These wonderful experiences, these wonderful feelings. We had gone out to the Baha’is at three o’clock in the morning, had said prayers, had socialized with the pioneers, had coffee or tea, I’m a coffee drinker, and we were walking back home to a beautiful morn. Who else but Baha’is do things like that? Those were wonderful times.
We haven’t had celebrations in this area like that for some years, I miss that now….