October 9, 2022

Letter from May Maxwell to Mason Remey – describing how Thomas Breakwell became a Baha’i

Montreal, Canada, Dec. 3, 1913

Dear Bahai brother:

. . . Regarding Thomas Breakwell, you will remember the year and the month that he came to me in Paris. when I was staying with Mrs. Jackson. I do not remember the date but I remember all the facts. Early in the spring my mother had written to ‘Abdu’l-Baha asking permission for me to leave when she and my brother would be leaving to spend the summer in Brittany. A Tablet had come in reply in which this permission was refused and ‘Abdu’l-Baha said as far as it was possible, not to absent myself from Paris at all. Then Mirza-Abul-Fazl wrote explaining the circumstances to him and asking for permission for me to leave. But the time came for my mother and brother to leave the city and the permission had not yet come. They closed the apartment and I went to stay with Mrs. Jackson.

During that month I spent in Paris we had wonderful meetings, Mons. Dreyfus and others received the teachings at that time. I had known, the previous winter, a Mrs. Milner who was a friend of Lillian James. She had gone to America and returned and on the steamer coming back she had met Thomas Breakwell. She had told him nothing of the teachings, but had spoken of me as a special friend in Paris, whom she wished to have him meet, and the day after they arrived in Paris, she brought him to my little apartment at Mrs. Jackson's.

I shall never forget opening the door and seeing him standing there. It was like looking at a veiled light. I saw at once his pure heart, his burning spirit, his thirsty soul, and over all was cast the veil which is over every soul until it is rent asunder by the power of God in this day. As I opened the door, Mrs. Milner said "he was a stranger and she took him in," then when we were seated she told me that he was a young Englishman who had been living in the southern states of America and that he was a Theosophist.

He stayed a short time. As he was leaving, he said that Mrs. Milner had told him that I had received some teachings which had had a great effect on my life and although he was only going to be in Paris a few days, he would like to call to see me and hear what I could tell him. We made an appointment for the following morning and then he left.

At the appointed hour next day he arrived, his eyes shining, his face illumined, his voice vibrating under the stress of great emotion. He looked at me very intently and then said: "I have come to you to help me. Yesterday after I left you, I walked alone down the boulevard and suddenly some great force nearly swept me off my feet. I stood still as though awaiting something and a voice announced to me distinctly 'Christ has come!'" Then he said, "What do you think this means?"

Then I gave him the Message and teachings from the beginning and the veil that I had seen over him disappeared. He was like a blazing light. Such was his capacity, that he received the Message in all its fulness and all its strength and beauty within three days and on the third day he wrote his supplication to ‘Abdu’l-Baha which in its force and simplicity I have never seen equalled: "My Lord! I believe; forgive me. Thy servant, Thomas Breakwell."

That evening I went to the rue du Bac to get my mail and found a cablegram which had just arrived, saying, "You may leave Paris" Signed "Abbas." When, the next day, my heart filled with gratitude, I joined my mother and brother beside the sea and told my mother all that had happened, she burst into tears and said, "You have a wonderful Master."

I could write you pages about the beloved Thomas Breakwell; of the fire of love burning in his heart when he returned from Acca, of his penetrating spiritual power in our midst, of the light of servitude and sacrifice which burned so brilliantly in his soul; but you know all this even better than I. I only want to add that his kindness and love to my mother during those days in Paris produced a great effect on her and that he was always a joy and a consolation to her during that period of her life before she understood the glory of this Cause. I have always felt that Thomas Breakwell was the first of the Paris believers to receive the confirmation of the Holy Spirit and the fire of the Love of God.

I am yours in servitude to the Center of the Covenant!

May Maxwell

(Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 19, March 2, 1915)