By Karen Hickman, Theta (DePauw University) Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
In the middle of the Ritual Education Manual is a collection of “Ritual Moments” most sisters may gloss right over. These poems and musings may be seldom what the reader is actually looking for when accessing the manual. However, while recently researching another topic, this poem called out to me:
a shield you wear over your heart;
a friend whether near or apart;
a love that must shine from within;
a tear or a smile…a loss or a win;
a joy that you make the choice;
a bond through which we all rejoice.
But above all, sisterhood is…
A myth until you make it real.
-Ritual Education Manual, page 71, Author Unknown
This poem is a collection of simple phrases that while familiar, are not directly used in any of our Rituals, Ceremonies, or Services. It describes the sisterhood we love so much and the commitment each of us made “to make it real.”
Wear your badge over your heart – Yes! Beginning with the Pledge Service, AOIIs proudly wear our New Member or Chartering Chapter pin and, subsequently, our badge when we receive it at initiation.
When you need a friend – This reminds AOIIs to freely call upon sisters, as well as being open when sisters call upon you. Relationships are reciprocal – not one sided. You can’t have sisterhood without first building healthy and solid relationships.
Radiate love – Freely give of yourself, just as our Founders did throughout their lives. They did this not only within the Fraternity, but in all facets of life for all to see. You can do that, too, in your own ways.
Joys and disappointments – Sisters are there no matter what, no matter when, supporting one another through it all. It doesn’t matter when you last spoke, were together, or commented on each other’s social media. Sisters are there for each other–period.
Your choice – You accepted a bid from AOII. Remember how happy you were on Bid Day? You’re smiling now, aren’t you? It was the best decision ever! Upon pledging yourself to Alpha Omicron Pi, you were true and worthy and in sympathy with the high aspirations of the Fraternity, beginning your lifetime in AOII.
Bond of initiation – We all remember the first time we heard the “secret stuff” while sharing Ritual with sisters during initiation. Over and over through the years those words remain steadfast in our lives, taking on different meanings in different seasons and enriching our lives.
Alpha Omicron Pi cannot exist without all our members – Each sister plays a vital role within the Fraternity and in the lives of other sisters. Without each other, we’d have nothing.
These phrases describe the mutual promises made between the members and the Fraternity, the bond that is AOII, and the values we share as initiated sisters. This is AOII in a nutshell! This is our sisterhood.
If you have questions or need ideas from the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J), please don’t hesitate to contact us at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.