History

In 1941, Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchiabelli, two of Meher Baba’s close Western disciples, were sent by Baba from India to the United States to establish a Center for His work in the West. Baba gave these five guidelines for the property:

The climate should be equable.
It should have more than ample water.
It should be virgin soil, never built upon.
It should be land that could be tilled.
It should be given from the heart.

Elizabeth and Norina journeyed across the country looking for a suitable location, from California to the Midwest to North Carolina, and then finally Elizabeth remembered a property that was owned by her father’s company in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She and Norina visited, and, as they stood looking over a beautiful freshwater lake toward the Atlantic ocean, surrounded by sunlit trees and singing birds, they felt it—this was the place.

Baba agreed on the location of the Center, and Elizabeth’s father, Simeon Chapin, was able to convince his business partners to let him buy the portion of the property that included what is now the Center’s 500 acres. He then gladly gave the property to Elizabeth, who proceeded to give it to Meher Baba – from the heart.

Though it was wartime and materials were scarce, Elizabeth, Norina, and a number of other early followers got to work painstakingly clearing pieces of the property and constructing or acquiring buildings that would be needed for Baba’s work and comfort when He visited. Finally, in 1952, Baba arrived— and was deeply happy with the painstaking labor of love that had created His Home in the West. Baba came back to the Center physically two more times, in 1956 and 1958, and said He never leaves.

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