by Leigh Perry, Upsilon Lambda (University of Texas at San Antonio), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
My dad had a sign over his desk that said, “It’s tough to remember your initial objective is to drain the swamp when you’re up to your (neck) in alligators.”
This is especially true in Alpha Omicron Pi. We get so busy with our lives, classes, campus activities, work, and chapter commitments, or as alumnae with family, work, civic organizations, and checking all those boxes for the SOEs …that we forget!
We forget to remember.
We forget the time-tested simplicity of the friendship and love extended by those four special young women.
We forget that initial joy when we first knew we were meant to be AOIIs.
We forget to savor the small moments.
We forget that it isn’t just about us.
It is not only to ourselves that Alpha Omicron Pi must be of value. Our friendship and love are expressed in our service. We have a HUGE moral obligation to carry it into the world.
I had an epiphany when visiting a collegiate chapter: the Founders don’t mean for us to be kind just to each other, they mean for us to treat the whole world that way! That’s a seriously tall order! It’s hard to be kind when others aren’t. When our backs are against the wall. When we aren’t feeling emotionally or physically healthy.
It’s tough to remember our initial objective in difficult times.
In a 1967 essay, “The Young Founders of Alpha Omicron Pi,” PIP Mary D. Drummond wrote,
“[I was asked] whether the Founders were influenced by a poem, a novel. Stella says that the rose was chosen because of its age, beauty, and color. It typifies the Unfolding Spirit of AOII. [That spirit] is a process, as is the unfolding of the rose.”
When we remember that a rose blooms in its own time, it helps us develop our own patience with ourselves and with others.
AOII’s flower, the Jacqueminot rose (also known as the “General Jack”) has “large, double flowers that are extremely fragrant.” That helps us remember that a healthy, vigorous sisterhood draws in others.
The color “is clear red to deep pink, displaying darker purple hues as they age.” Just like our magnificent ruby, the clarity of color is reflected in our singleness of purpose. “One motto, one badge, one bond, and singleness of heart.”
The flowers “appear in small clusters of 2 to 3.” That reminds us that kindness to a sister multiplies as we carry our spirit into the outside world.
The flowers bloom “in a spring and autumn flush and scattered blooms in between.” That reminds us there is no season for our sisterhood. It blooms forever through our actions.
The Général Jacqueminot “is winter hardy. That reminds us that we, too, can survive the bitter cold and darkest times, forgiving the real or imagined slights so we can continue to bloom.
Our own Général Jacqueminot “is an ancestor of most modern red roses.”
It is as fundamental as our initial objective and our purpose.
Let’s not forget to remember (and live!) the simple, yet profound, principles our Founders gave us.