by Kay Elam, Sigma Delta (Huntingdon College), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
Do you ever wonder what non-AOIIs think about our sisterhood? RT&J recently received an e-mail from a member of Chi Omega sharing some of her observations of our sisterhood. It inspired me to share her opinion as well as two other non-AOIIs.
From Cindee Riordan, AOII Foundation’s Major Gifts Officer and a member of Chi Omega Fraternity:
In my two plus years working at the Foundation, I have found AOIIs treasure their Ritual. This is true regardless of initiation date and speaks to how timeless Ritual is for this Fraternity. I remember visiting an older AOII in Louisville who had some health issues and was somewhat isolated. A local sister visited and shared Ritual with her on her back porch. This nurtured her soul and uplifted her spirits when most needed. At Convention in 2019, I attended various meetings where an AOII sister would greet me at the door and ask me to wait outside the room until Ritual was completed. This left a lasting impression of how valuable an experience Ritual was to sisters. Finally, I was invited by a Foundation Board Member to a Murder Mystery Party for a Nashville alumna event. Kay Elam had to call to uninvite me (in the nicest possible way!) because she had incorporated Ritual into the Murder Mystery script; she hoped I was not offended. Far from being offended, I was so impressed that Ritual permeates all aspects of life for an AOII!! I believe the challenges of the last year with the pandemic speak to the necessity and importance of having shared symbolism that speaks to the soul, forges a unique bond of sisterhood, and reminds us that shared values over generations of sisters allow us to move beyond the temporal to lasting legacy.
From Beth Swartz Bragg, former Controller for AOII and member of Zeta Tau Alpha:
I worked at AOII HQ for 18 years and got to know many AOIIs who I still consider friends years later. In fact, some of my best friends are AOIIs. My monthly dinner group consists of six AOIIs… and me. The seven of us have shared the ups and downs of our lives for 20+ years. I don’t know AOII’s specific Ritual, but I know its essence from the values and spirit demonstrated by the many AOIIs who have touched my life. While I’m an initiated Zeta, I also feel in my heart the love of AOII.
And finally, I asked my husband how he views our sisterhood.
From Greg Elam, M.D.:
- I admire the sisterhood of AOII.
- I see the embodiment of what my wife tells me is “living Ritual” in the effort spent to create and maintain strong connections.
- I see the passion of the sisters leading the way for future generations.
- I experience the strength of my wife fully supported by other women who are courageous enough to be vulnerable.
- I see and feel their love and it inspires me.
It’s heartwarming to know our sisterhood shines so brightly, others can see it, too.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.