A native of Dublin (Ireland) Brian O’Flanagan was raised in a Catholic, working class, nationalist family. He first encountered the Baha’i community in the early ‘70s, when he was invited to attend a fireside at the apartment of O. Z. Whitehead, an American pioneer, a founding member of the Irish Baha’i Community. The next couple of decades were spent in the homefront pioneering field, with periods of service in the Holy Land, Greece and Albania. He served for 10 years as custodian of the National Hazirat’l-Quds in Dublin.
In the spring of 2000 he came to the United States, to travel and teach on American Indian reservations, spending time in South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska. In 2001 he took a course with the Wilmette Institute on the Kitab-i-Aqdas, where he first made contact with Paula Bidwell. He came back to the States to marry Paula in the spring of 2002. Later that year they moved to Evanston where they both served at the National Center.