January 16, 2010

Dr. Susan Moody, Amatu’l-A’la (The handmaid of the Most High), who “forged first link in (the) chain uniting (the) spiritual destinies” of Persia and the American Baha’i Community

(by Jessie E. Revell)

"In reality," says 'Abdu'l-Baha, "faith embodies three degrees: to confess with the tongue; to believe in the heart; to give evidence in our actions." In writing a brief account of the life of Dr. Susan I. Moody the real faith, as quoted here, is outstanding.

She was born November 20, 1851 in Amsterdam, New York, of Scotch-Covenanter parents. Here she received the usual schooling and orthodox religious training of the "best" families of the day. After graduating from Amsterdam Academy, she taught school, later entered the Women's Medical College in New York City. After her parents passed away, she made her home with her brother in Chicago where she studied music. Still later, Dr. Moody studied painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, then for three years in the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, then under the great painter Chase, in New York and finally, in the art schools studios of Paris, but she was not, however, to make art her life work for instead of following the professional art career, for which she was well qualified, she finally yielded to the constantly increasing urge which she felt and concluded her study of medicine, graduating from a Chicago medical college.

During those early days of her life in Chicago, she met friends who were attending the first classes formed for the study of the Baha'i Revelation, which classes she joined but did not become a confirmed believer until 1903, after making an intensive study of the teachings with Mrs. Isabella D. Brittingham, for the privilege of whose teaching Dr. Moody was always exceedingly grateful.