Rituals, Traditions, and Change

in General News, RT&J

By Mary Matarazzo Bryant, Delta Omega (Murray State University), Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee Chair

A 1936 quote of Founder, Stella Perry, that is often used in AOII is “…we’re founded and constituted in a way so elastic that while holding to all essential traditions, we are adjustable to changes and modern needs…”. Through the years, AOII has been flexible in many areas from organization structure to the titles and roles of officers. As AOIIs, we take pride in the fact that our Ritual has never changed. How does this quote apply to our Ritual? As I complete four years of serving as Chair of the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) I would like to reflect on Stella’s words and highlight how they have been applied by our committee.

The COVID pandemic brought the dilemma of not being able to be together in person to conduct our Rituals, Ceremonies, and Services. RT&J worked to adapt all of these for online, virtual use so our sisters could continue to share times of sweet communion together even while physically apart. Never before had it been thought that the Internet would ever be used in this way in AOII—our essential traditions were adjusted to meet the needs of the times.  

Styles of clothing change from year to year and decade to decade. RT&J, in conjunction with the Executive Board, approved changes in attire. The rationale was to ensure respect for our Ritual, our Founders, and our shared core values. This change returned AOII to our tradition of wearing badge-appropriate clothing by members, collegiate and alumnae, for all Rituals, Ceremonies, and Services. The new policy not only reduced financial obligations on members and removed undue restrictions on individual expression, it also ensured that our members could place mindful focus on the core values of our beautiful, unchanged Ritual rather than on attire. It is hoped that this change will continue to create and foster a greater sense of connection between all sisters and our Ritual, which is the heart of our Fraternity. 

During the last four years the Rituals Book, Book of Ritual Instructions (BRI), and Ritual Education Manual (REM) have been updated and distributed to chapters. The interactive REM is actually online in Alpha Link for chapter Ritual officers to utilize. Again, who would have thought that anything pertaining to Ritual would ever be accessible on the Internet? In all of RT&J’s work on the latest editions, the core of our Rituals was not changed. However, new ceremonies and services were added, and obsolete ones were removed. Instructions were improved, and wording was adjusted for current times based on input from our AOII sisters. 

I hope that Stella would agree that RT&J, while holding to all essential traditions, has adjusted to the changes and modern needs of AOII. 

You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org

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