by Mary Matarazzo Bryant, Delta Omega (Murray State University), Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee Chair
At Convention 1919, the Founders called for a permanent Memorial Ritual to honor those who have passed away since Alpha Omicron Pi’s founding. Lucretia Howe Jordon Bickley, Omicron (U of Tennessee), was asked to prepare and conduct the Ritual. The Memorial Ritual, which is today part of the Ritual for Closing Convention continues the desire to remember our AOII sisters who have entered the Alpha Omega Chapter during the two years between conventions.
A sheaf of wheat and a bouquet of red roses are presented during this Ritual. The wheat is used in its natural state. It is not colored or decorated in any way. The sheaf is 24 inches in length and is arranged to have heads at both ends of it. These stalks are tied in the center with a cardinal ribbon but no bow. The bouquet of two dozen red roses has blooms arranged at both ends and is tied in the center with a two inch wide, cardinal ribbon that forms a bow.
The sheaf of wheat and the bouquet of red roses represent these thoughts in the Memorial Ritual: “The wheat is a fitting symbol to Alpha Omicron Pi of the harvest of a fruitful life; these roses, of a life of grace and love. The beauty of the rose typifies the quiet and eternal unfolding of the spirit; the sheaf, the regeneration of the fallen wheat. So are these lives. So shall it grow and bloom forever in our hearts.”
Following the Ritual, the wheat and roses are returned to the Earth reverently by placing them in a stream, river, lake, or by scattering them in an appropriate area. The Rituals, Traditions and Jewelry Committee ensures that this process is followed.
Later in AOII History this Ritual was adapted by RT&J to provide a version, Memorial Ritual for Chapters and Members, that can be conducted locally by a Collegiate or an Alumnae Chapter. Also an AOII Memorial Service for Friends and Family and an AOII Tribute for a Family Memorial Service have been added.
Our AOII tradition of conducting Memorial Rituals and Services honors the memory of those members we wish to continue to hold in our hearts with a feeling of fraternity and love.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.