Chicagoans gather for prayer at Corinne True’s gravesite
A late October storm bringing nearly 2 inches of rainfall didn’t dampen spirits at a gathering at the gravesite of the Hand of the Cause of God Corinne Knight True in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.
The program at Oakwood Cemetery — which included prayer, music and scripture readings — was hosted by the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Chicago as a way of honoring ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, in the weeks leading to the 100th anniversary of His passing.
Planners of the Oct. 24 event knew of the impending storm, so tents were raised to keep the 35-plus attendees dry and comfortable. The gathering was emotionally warm too, as people were catching up with friends after time apart due to the pandemic. “Several people told us afterward that the extra time to talk before the devotional made it especially warm and personal,” says Farid Damasio, part of the team that organized the event.
Those who attended the event were literally following in the footsteps of ‘Abdul-Baha’s visit to the cemetery in 1912. At that time He prayed for True’s recently departed son and for all who were buried there. He encouraged people to make a practice of visiting gravesites and praying for the departed.
At ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s behest, True had for a decade been a driving force behind the construction of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. He lovingly called her the “Mother of the Temple.” His friendship helped sustain her through the loss of several children.
The 2021 program focused on three aspects of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s ministry – the Covenant, love, and racial justice. Each topic was introduced with a brief episode from His life, with the goal of imparting a feeling of closeness with Him.
Several youths played drums and shared songs in call-and-response style. Damasio says the music enhanced the intimate mood of the program. “Every few readings they would sing a song, and invite us to sing with them,” he says. “It made the program more communal.”