The first Bahá’í in our family was my great, great grandmother Leonora Georgiana Stirling. She was born and raised in London and went as a missionary to County Cork Ireland. From here she emigrated in 1868 to Canada and then the United States. This photograph was taken in Dublin sometime between 1850 and 1860. She did not find the Bahá’í Revelation for another approximately 40 years.
Leonora Georgiana Stirling – Dublin – c.1850-1860
This second photo is of my Great Grandmother Stirling at about the time she found the Baha’i Revelation through a friend in Brooklyn, New York. It was 1906 and she deepened through correspondence with Isabella Brittingham. She met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when he visited America in 1912, both in Boston and New York, in which during one visit He gave her a white rose.
Great Grandmother Stirling – New York – c. 1900
In 1930 Leonora Stirling Holsapple (later to become Armstrong) boarded a ship in Rio de Janeiro for Spain. She stayed in Madrid studying Spanish in order to improve her ability to translate the Baha’i Writings into Spanish as requested by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith. Much to her distress she fell seriously ill and was beside herself being unable to achieve her goals in the time set aside. Meanwhile, she wrote to the Guardian in Haifa expressing her disappointment in the precious opportunity lost due to her illness, and he responded with an invitation to her to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. So from Barcelona she took a ship to Haifa. Below is a photo that she took of The Greatest Holy Leaf – Bahíyyih Khánum – daughter of Bahá’u’lláh and great aunt of Shoghi Effendi.
The Greatest Holy Leaf photographed by Leonora Holsapple Nov. 1930 - Haifa
A working bulletin board in researching the life of my great aunt, Leonora Holsapple Armstrong.
Research bulletin board
Today would be my husband Jim’s 50th birthday if he hadn’t passed away from Marfan’s Syndrome in 1997, age 35. So here is to the wonderful life of James Francis Asuncion ~ 18 November 1961 – 5 July 1997. A wonderful and much loved husband and step-father. Jim served here in Haifa from 1984 to 1986 at the Bahá’í World Centre in the Department of Security. He studied philosophy at Humboldt State University and worked at the Bosch Bahá’í School in Santa Cruz, California. A very devoted Bahá’í, he is buried in Soquel Cemetery near Capitola, California.
Tiny bit of history. This is a photo of my great, great grandmother – Leonora Georgiana Stirling. Born in England, she emigrated to America in 1869, living first in Buffalo, then Hudson, New York. She was the grandmother of Leonora Holsapple Armstrong, early pioneer to Brazil.
Leonora Georgiana Stirling, circa 1915. Hudson, NY