Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Ceremonies for Conferring the Decoration of Chivalry on a Lady


1930


The candidate for the Decoration should be accompanied by an escort, and will be received at entrance as follows:
Sentinel:
Halt! Who comes there?
Escort, preferably a Lady in Auxiliary Uniform:
A friend with a lady desiring admittance.
Sentinel:
Advance, friend, and explain her purpose.
Escort, advancing:
This Lady has been selected to receive the Decoration of Chivalry.
Sentinel:
Officer of the Guard.
Coming to a present and then to a carry.
Officer of the Guard:
Sir.
Saluting and advancing.
Sentinel:
Admittance is desired by a lady whose escort states that she has been selected to receive the Decoration of Chivalry.
Officer of the Guard:
Lady, is it true that you have been selected to receive this high decoration?
Candidate:
It is.
Officer of the Guard:
Sister, you will kindly present and allow me to examine your papers, authorizing the conferring of this ceremony you have named.
Candidate presents Papers Patent, appointing her to receive the Decoration, which the Officer examines and returns.
Officer of the Guard:
Sister, preparatory thereto, and before you can receive the Decoration, you must pass through a primary ceremony, which will be fully understood as you proceed. Are you prepared to advance?
Candidate:
I am.
Officer of the Guard, taking position at right of candidate; both advance toward Captain in command of the floor Corps or Cantons and halt; officer saluting and saying:
Captain.
Captain:
Sir.
Saluting.
Officer of the Guard:
This lady, bearing duly authenticated Papers Patent, presents herself to receive the Decoration of Chivalry.
Captain to Officer of the Guard:
Resume duty at your post. Lieutenant, assume command of the Canton and prepare to extend honors to a Lady, who has been designated to receive the Decoration of Chivalry.
Lieutenant in command of Canton:
Open Ranks, MARCH; FRONT; front rank, about, FACE.
Captain:
Sister, I will now conduct you through the ceremony.
Escort salutes and retires, saluting on passing Sentinel, or may continue as escort, passing at the teat of Canton line and meeting candidate and Captain at the left of the Canton line.
Lieutenant:
Present, SWORDS; carry, SWORDS; order, SWORDS; UN-COVER.
Captain:
Advance, sister.
They pass between the ranks of the Chevaliers, and passing the left of the line, advance to the water font.
Lieutenant, as Captain passes left of the line:
RE-COVER; carry, SWORDS; front rank, about, FACE; close ranks, MARCH when candidate commences to wash hands; right, FACE; forward, MARCH thence moving Canton to desired position.
Lieutenant taking position in front and center of Canton, which remains at this point, if in a hall, across floor space, fronting Commanderís quarters, during remainder of ceremony. If on stage, Canton is moved from the stage.
Captain, as font is reached and addressing Lady Candidate, says:
Sister, you have received the Militant honors in the "present swords"; and you have witnessed the chivalrous devotion of Patriarchs Militant to your sex in the "order, arms" and uncovering as you passed between the ranks, thereby indicating through such acts your privilege to command protection in all your rights; and now, it is fitting that you should wash your hands in pure water, thereby signifying your desire to cleanse the body of the sins born in the flesh and of the pure purpose to which you shall devote your future life.
The candidate emblematically washes her hands and wipes them on a perfectly white towel. Use of water being optional.
Captain, advances with Candidate from water font, to position at left of floor space center, and addressing Headquarters Guard, on duty, as Guard advances:
Guard both saluting, Captain with right hand, Guard coining to a present, then to a carry. Present my compliments and inform an Aide that a Lady accompanies me who, professing purity of purpose, prays an interview with the Department Commander.
Guard, left faces, to approach officersí quarters, observes an advancing Aide, whom he salutes and is recognized by a right hand salute, he then says:
Sir, an Officer, accompanied by a Lady, is here and prays an interview with the Department Commander.
Guard returns to post; first position.
Aide:
Captain both saluting, Sir, kindly indicate the nature of your call or reasons for an interview.
Captain:
Sir, the name of this Lady having been properly selected, based upon just reasons, regularly endorsed, presented and approved, and under authority of The Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, now presents herself without embarrassment, and as one duly qualified, to receive the Decoration of Chivalry, and thus awaits the pleasure of the Department Commander.
Aide, draws sword, faces about, and addresses the Department Commander, approaching with Adjutant:
General or proper title, both saluting, an Officer is here present, accompanied by a Lady, of whom he states that because of meritorious efforts in the fraternal and benevolent field of Odd Fellowship, her labors for humanity, purity of action, and general loveliness of character, her name has been regularly recommended, favorably endorsed, approved, and that she has Papers Patent qualifying her to receive this high award of honor and merit, the Decoration of Chivalry.
Department Commander, addressing Aide:
Sir, you will present the necessary credentials authorizing the conferring of the Decoration.
Aide secures papers from candidate and presents them to the Department Commander, who examines them and returns same to Aide, with instructions as to their disposition.
Department Commander, addressing Candidate:
Sister, your documents sustain your statements; but before I can confer upon you the Decoration, you must take the obligation thereunto belonging for a Lady. Are you willing to take such an obligation?
Candidate:
I am.
Department Commander to Candidate:
You will now retire in care of your escort while preparations are made for the completion of this solemn ceremony.
Department Commander:
Adjutant both saluting. Sound Assembly.
Adjutant to Bugler:
Sound Assembly. If Bugler be not had, same may be done by Band member, or in the absence of both, Adjutant will say: Guards, Officers, Banners, Flags, Assistants, Commands, Posts.
All will retire or front curtain will be lowered.

  
 
Second Part
 
See instructions as to formation in previous ceremony.
Department Commander, addressing Candidate:
Sister, you will place your left hand upon the Bible which has been laid open on a stand before her, uplift your right hand, say I, pronounce your name, and repeat the following obligation:
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Order, SWORDS; UN-COVER.
 
 
Obligation
 
I, Ö, with my free will and accord, before these living witnesses, do voluntarily promise and obligate myself: To visit the sick; alleviate distress; sympathize with the bereaved; uphold the good name of maidens, wives and women generally; counsel orphans and encourage widows; teach children to love and obey their parents and superiors; respect the rights of all; do no injustice knowingly; advance honor and suppress vice. All within the bounds of possibility and in the sphere appropriate for a Lady. To the faithful performance of all which, I pledge my sacred word of honor.
Department Comnnsander:
Officers and Chevaliers, ATTEST!
Officers in Command of Cantons:
RE-COVER; carry, Swords; advance, SWORDS.
All (Officers and Chevaliers):
Remember the oath!
Long roll of drums.
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Carry, SWORDS.
Departmnent Commander:
Our Lady-Assistants each have a lecture appropriate to this ceremony and occasion which they will now in turn deliver. The first Lady.
 
 
Charges by Lady-Assistants
 
The four Lady-Assistants should be dressed appropriately in white, and wearing decorations of bows, etc., or in Auxiliary Uniform, similar to those worn in the conferring of the Grand Decoration of Chivalry, and, if entitled thereto, wearing the Decoration of Chivalry.
First Lady, on left of, and nearest to, the Departmnent Commander, stepping forward and addressing the Lady-candidate:
Lady Novice, I, as a Sister, with unalloyed pleasure, greet you at this shrine of honor, where the flashings of talent have full sway in the development of virtues. It is not that which we have that demands, and should receive, the most attention, but that which we have not should be studied to a perfection in excellence that the mind and heart may be brought to an equilibrium for good. Friendship and Love are reciprocal virtues; equalled only by Truth, the very foundation of Character. The two cardinal points of womanís life are thought and expression. Be ever thoughtful that you err not, and after determining the course to be pursued, select the gentlest and most pleasing manner of expression by act and word. Remember to consider others as well as yourself!
The First Lady returns to her station.
Department Commander:
The second Lady.
Second Lady, on the right of, and nearest to, the Department Commander, advances and says:
Lady, I too, welcome you as a Sister and desire to say that it is far easier to advise than to follow; and knowing what is good to be done, to do is a virtue frequently disregarded. In the ministrations incident to life, do not shine inconstantly as the fire-fly, glowing brilliantly for a moment, then to be lost in the tangle web of night, but rather let your acts stand forth as constant as a fixed star in the firmament. Mark high your course through life with good purposes, and then carry out your elevated intentions. May time bear fruit of your honorable teachings and kind and just deeds, to such an extent as to herald your eminence in a wealth of virtue equal to the chivalrous prowess of the noblest Knight of the Order.
The second Lady returns to her station.
Department Commander:
The third Lady.
Third Lady, on left of, and farthest from, the Departmnent Commander, advancing and addressing the Lady-candidate, says:
Lady, I trust that this will be ever remembered as the occasion when honor was taught to be your vital breath, and all corrupting lessons as acts of apostacy to principles "which blur the grace of modesty, call virtue hypocrite," and blister the very soul with evil thoughts. In the solution of the problem of life, know that a still tongue, observing eye, and listening ear form a trio of excellences certain to be appreciated as wisdom advances. Just action should be your watchword.
The third Lady returns to her station.
Department Commander:
The fourth Lady.
Fourth Lady, on the right of, and farthest from, the Department Commander, advancing and addressing the Lady-candidate, says:
Dear Lady, woman as you are, designated as the beautiful counterpart of man, and the one who contributes so eminently to his happiness, you can, by the gentle influences of love and virtue, exercise through your Various ministrations an intuitive work for good.
Through the potency of your power, properly directed, you may accomplish much toward the upbuilding of honor and virtue; even the shadows of adversity can be made to Vanish by your approving smile, and become transformed into a very birthday of hope, to culminate in the fulfilment of a heartís dream. Remember, then, O lady, the obligations you have taken. Remember! Remember!! Remember!!!
The fourth Lady returns to her station.
Each Lady on advancing in front of candidate, may turn and salute the Commander with right hand, which will be acknowledged, and at close of lecture, on first turning to retire, again salute.
Department Commander:
Sister, in your modesty, you are a fitting type of your sex; for know, that woman, in her kindly deeds, induced by the promptings of a pure heart, does a righteous act for its excellence alone, and when discovered in her purpose will shrink from the approving gaze of the multitude like the delicate flowers from the burning rays of the meridian sun.
God, in creating the universe, has met the desires of the human heart with the innumerable and exquisite glories of the earth; but all its material evidences of omnipotent power pale before the masterpiece of His divine handiwork, the jewel in the crown, a pearl of beauty, a dewdrop in purity; for woman, such art thou, and will continue to be until time shall be no more.
Entertaining a belief that you will practice the lessons taught by these charges as based upon the obligation you have taken ó
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Present, SWORDS.
Department Commander:
I now, by authority invested in me, do proclaim and pronounce you entitled to receive the Decoration of Chivalry.
Triple flourish of trumpets.
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Carry, SWORDS.
Department Commander:
Adjutant both saluting, Sir, have you prepared a proper jewel to be bestowed upon this Lady, as a Decoration, an appropriate testimonial of her sterling worth?
The Adjutant steps forward on a line with the Department Commander.
Adjutant, addressing the Department Commander and saluting:
General, I have prepared this jewel exhibiting it, an emblematic Decoration suspended from a brilliant representation of light, typical of the age of civilized chivalry, embodying enlightenment and justice, being a white cross of ancient design, having mounted upon the face a scarlet heart, and bearing a golden crown, and inscribed upon the back, the motto of action, "Be just, merciful, honorable and brave." The interpretation of all which is: The enameled whiteness representing the purity upon which, as a basis, all justice is built; the scarlet heart, representing the heart of man, from which flows the fountain of mercy; the golden crown being indicative of the crowning virtue, honor, when practiced with the moral courage and bravery to do the right.
Hands jewel to Department Commander.
Department Commander:
Department Chaplain both saluting, Sir, it is fitting that such a Decoration should be placed upon the bosom, containing a noble heart, by pure hands.
Department Chaplain:
General, anticipating your purpose, I sought of her mother this young Miss, who, in her purity, is a type of loveliness and innocence, and I present her as one unsullied and maidenly pure, and ask that she, as the Maid of Honor, shall place the Decoration.
The young Miss should be dressed in white and may wear a suitable head-dress trimmed with white ostrich plumes and embroidered with silver.
Department Commander:
Sister, as an emblem of this Ceremony, of the high moral character you have publicly assumed, and the duties under voluntary obligation espoused, I would now bestow upon you a fitting Decoration, as a tribute of your modesty, virtue, and general loveliness of character, you will kneel and allow this young Miss to ornament you with the Decoration of Chivalry. If there are a number of Candidates, they may kneel and arise singly or preferably they may be escorted out of the line singly or us pairs to a kneeling stool. The Department Commander leading the young Miss to the kneeling Sister, gives her the jewel to pin on the left breast of the Lady-candidate and says: I now, by the hands of innocence and purity, thus invest you with the Decoration you are entitled to wear. Be just, be merciful, be true.
Department Commander:
Sister, arise.
Department Commander:
Department Chaplain both saluting, Sir, at this point, it is fitting that you invoke Divine blessing.
The Chaplain steps forward on a line with the Department Commander.
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Order, swords; UN-COVER.
 
 
Prayer
 
Department Chaplain:
Great Commander of all men, Sovereign of the Universe, extend Thy helping hand to this suppliant Lady; aid and assist her in the righteous work she has undertaken, and give her, O God, the strength and power to keep the obligation she has voluntarily assumed. Possess her with the courage to advance the right with a strong arm and conscientious heart, and so let her live as to enjoy the blessings of Thy creation, and obtain the glories of Eternal Life. Amen.
Officers in Command of Cantons:
RE-COVER; carry, SWORDS; present, SWORDS.
Department Commander:
Sister, bang thus decorated on the field of honor, made so by the exalted purpose espoused, I now, in this presence, recognize your excellence, and do thus publicly acknowledge you as a Lady of the Decoration of Chivalry.
Officers in Command of Cantons:
Carry, SWORDS.
Lady of Honor, in position on the left of the Department Commander, and carrying a lily for each Candidate, steps forward and delivers the following lecture:
Dear Ladies: In Godís earthly garden there are millions of flowers, instilling good thoughts coming from heaven. By their color and beauty, these flowers, in a sweet and silent way, portray in language unwritten, virtues which should adorn our lives. Amidst the flowers of the earth and in its glory, stands forth the lily, an emblem of purity. May your future life, dear Ladies, be as pure as this token of esteem which I now present to you by direction of your Department Commander, who has thus honored you and elevated you to the exalted position as a Lady of the Decoration of Chivalry.
She then presents each Lady with a white lily. For this occasion an assistant, as Flower Lady, may be added.
The part of the Lady of Honor is optional with each Department Commander, but under no circumstances shall any other presentation of flowers, or any other article, be allowed in connection with these Ceremonies.
The Lady receives the congratulations of the Department Commander and others. The banners and flags wave amid a continued flourish of trumpets and roll of drums, and, after such suitable demonstration, the Band strikes up a martial air and the Cantons are marched through the Hall and dismissed.
At the conclusion of the Lectures by the Lady Assistants either of the following verses, No. 1 and No. 2 may be sung by one of the Lady Assistants as a solo, or by all of them as a quartette, or by a selected choir; and if it cannot be rendered musically it may be repeated with dramatic emphasis by an assistant selected for the purpose.
No.1
True, ever true, to our vows we stand,
Pledged heart and soul as a loyal band!
Strong in the power of our womanhood,
To conquer evil through (the) force of good.
No. 2
O, let us live with a purpose true,
Doing the work God gives us to do,
Cheering sad hearts with a sweet-voiced hope,
To brighten earth, (un) til heaven shall ope.


Home