St. Helena has been fortunate to receive many Bahá’í visitors over the years and some of these are featured here.
Mrs Elizabeth Stamp - Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for St. Helena
Mrs Elizabeth Stamp was born in southern Ireland in 1887, took her schooling in Dublin, and later emigrated to America where in 1939 she became a member of the New York (city) Bahá’í community. She was noted for her warm hospitality, and travel teaching for her Faith within the United States.
At the age of 67 years, and widowed, Elizabeth chose to bring the message of Bahá’u’lláh to the remote island of St. Helena where she arrived on the 4th of May 1954. She brought with her a loose-leaf binder that she had filled with well organised illustrated information about the Faith she loved; each page protected in a clear plastic envelope (a page from her binder is reproduced below. She was patient and diplomatic in her attempts to offer knowledge of this long-promised Revelation. Though she occasionally took breaks from St. Helena to visit members of her family, it must have been an often lonely ten years for her.
In 1963, aged 76 years, she fell in her Island accommodation and broke her ankle in several places. Following treatment in South Africa she returned to the Island but finally left St. Helena at the end of 1964. She served as a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Durban until June 1966 then returned to America to live near her son and his family in Connecticut for her remaining four years. Mrs Stamp is buried there next to her husband.
Jagdish was born in Mauritius in 1932. He learnt of the Faith there and became a Bahá’í in 1955. He left his homeland to study in England, which became his home. He arrived in St. Helena on 3rd February 1960 from England, and lived here for almost 2 years, eventually obtaining a job with Government, which allowed him to support himself. He made many friends, particularly with people of his own age, giving French lessons and a place for young people to congregate and enjoy playing music together. He claims to have introduced the cha-cha-cha and jive dancing to St. Helena! People also met of course to hear about the Bahá’í Faith and, during his stay, 3 young St. Helenians became Bahá’ís.
He returned to England on 20th May 1962, was interviewed about the island on BBC Overseas Services, and was asked to serve as a part time interviewer as a result. He met and married Bella Murday - also a Bahá’í - in 1965, and they held many meetings in their home in North London over the years. He graduated in 1971 and was employed in the Immigration Service of the Home Office. They have one daughter - Natasha born in 1969, a talented musician, now married to Andrew Wilkinson, and they have 2 children.
Jagdish returned to the island for a short visit in 1998 for the Opening of the new Bahá’í Centre at the Gumwoods. This was an emotional experience for him, not only because of the reunion with those he had known so many years before, but also because he had had a heart operation in 1995 and never imagined that he would be able to make the journey to St. Helena once more.