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1954. 3 Jan The passing of Helen "Nellie" Stevison French (b.19 Oct 1868 Peoria, Illinois) in Monaco. She was buried in the Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Chicago.

In September 1953 Nellie French, 85, became the first Bahá'í to arrive in Monaco, but she passed away a few months later. For her act of service in bringing the Faith to the country, she received the accolade Knight of Baha'u'llah from Shoghi Effendi.

A celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Bahá'í Faith in the Principality was held on 24-25 April 2004 at the Theatre des Varietes in Monte Carlo, and opened with the reading of a welcoming message from the National Council of the Principality. [Newspaper Archive on BLO]

  • Evincing a marked talent for singing, Nellie left in 1888 for Naples, Italy, to develop that interest. The four-year residence abroad gave her the opportunity to learn the French and Italian languages, to acquire an appreciation of the Latin fine arts, and to master a strenuous course in training for the operatic stage. She suffered a case of typhoid fever in 1892 and returned to the United States to recuperate; but her recovery was followed by scarlet fever which impaired her vocal chords irreparably. Her aspirations for a musical career were ended.
  • In 1894 she married Stuart Whitney French, a childhood companion. About 1896, accompanied by her mother, she attended a few meetings at the home of Dr. Khayru'lláh. The spiritual seeds were sown. Moving to Arizona in 1900, Nellie French lived in Bisbee until 1904 and in Douglas until 1917. Her visits to Chicago and New York furnished a few Bahá'í contacts with meager information; the Bahá'í messages. Mrs. Isabella Brittingham went to Arizona in 1917 to teach the spiritual significance of the Bahá'í Faith offered Nellie a rare privilege. That experience confirmed Nellie who became the first resident Bahá'í teacher in Arizona.
  • Mr. and Mrs. French moved to Pasadena in 1918. During Riḍván, in April, 1921, Mr. and Mrs. French visited Haifa and ‘Akká; that pilgrimage became the fulfillment of all her hopes.
  • She contributed to the literature of the Faith by her work from 1930 to 1946 as Chairman of the Bahá'í World Editorial Committee, during which time she assembled material for volumes IV—X. She translated into French and Italian the "Blue Book" and the brochure "Number 9," and for several years she wrote "Loom of Reality," a column published in the Pasadena Star-News. In 1931 she made permanent Braille plates for Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era and for the Kitdb-i-iqan. She served on the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada 1929 - 1938.
  • As an administrator, she served as Chairman of the Pasadena Spiritual Assembly from 1928 to 1938. For four years, ending in 1944 she was Chairman of the InterAmerica Committee, and in this capacity she presided at a session of the Centenary Celebration in 1944. Later she was a member of the European Teaching Committee. She helped support the work of the International Bureau at Geneva and the All-Indian project at Macy, Nebraska, undertaken by her sister-in-law, Mary Farley Stevison.
  • In April, 1952, thirty-one years to the day, Nellie French returned Mt. Carmel to meet the beloved Guardian in person. During the Holy Year which was also the first year of the World Spiritual Crusade, Nellie French settled in the principality of Monaco to win the accolade, "Knight of Bahá'u'lláh. [BW12p700]
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  • Peoria, IL; United States; Monaco Nellie French; In Memoriam; Knight of Bahaullah

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