While the Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, and Order of the Amaranth are some of the most well-known appendant bodies of Freemasonry open to women, one I don't often hear too much discussion on is the Social Order of the Beauceant. According to their website, the Social Order of the Beauceant is "an organization of Christian women whose membership is limited to the wives and widows of the Knights Templar," but the order is now open to women who are 18-years of age and who are wives, widows, mothers, sisters, daughters, and granddaughters of a Knight Templar. The Social Order of the Beauceant is an auxiliary of the Knights Templar and seeks to aid the Commanderies as well as promote friendship among the members of the society. One way that the Society contributes to the Templar order is by raising funds for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. The ritual of the Society is said to be beautifully impressive and the theme of which is "Faith, Loyalty, and Love for God, the Knights Templar, and each other."
At the local level, members of the Social Order of the Beauceant convene an Assembly. An Assembly can be constituted wherever there is an active Commandery of Knights Templar of sufficient size to warrant it. There are currently 64 Assemblies. An Assembly is composed of the following officers:
PresidentOracleFirst Vice PresidentSecond Vice PresidentPreceptressRecorderTreasurerMarshalAssistant MarshalChaplainDirector of MusicStandard BearerColor BearerMistress of the WardrobeDaughter of the HouseholdInner GuardOuter Guard
The Supreme Assembly is composed of the following officers:
Supreme Worthy PresidentSupreme Most Worthy OracleSupreme Worthy First Vice PresidentSupreme Worthy Second Vice PresidentSupreme Worthy PreceptressSupreme RecorderSupreme TreasurerSupreme MarshalSupreme Assistant MarshalSupreme ChaplainSupreme Director of MusicSupreme HistorianSupreme CourierSupreme Standard BearerSupreme Color BearerSupreme Mistress of the WardrobeSupreme Daughter of the HouseholdSupreme Inner GuardSupreme Outer Guard
The Social Order of the Beauceant was founded in Denver, CO, in February of 1890 after several Sir Knights suggested it to their wives the year prior. The initial sole purpose for this group was for providing aid and sociability for the Sir Knights and guests attending the Triennial. The ladies enjoyed themselves that they never disbanded after the Triennial concluded. Originally it was called "S.O.O.B. Society" where "SOOB" stood for "Some Of Our Business", but by 1913 the meaning of SOOB was changed to "Social Order of the Beauceant" during the Knights Templar Triennial. This new name took its name from the Beauceant, the banner carried by the medieval Knights Templar. In 1920 the members from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado met in Denver to form the Supreme Assembly
The emblem of the Society is the Crown and Cross. The crosses they use are the Passion, the Patriarchal, and the Salem Cross. Together the crown and cross represent the reward waiting in Heaven that the Faithful will receive after the suffering and trials of this life on Earth; the cross secures and the crown assures. Some have interpreted it to stand for the meaning of the life, ministry, message, and glory of our Blessed Redeemer, our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Crown, by itself, has traditionally been a symbol of authority and sovereignty, whether it is governance over a society/community or over oneself. Head coverings, like crowns, are also seen as a symbol of victory like you would see with the wreath or garland. Symbolically we can see through its circular shape it denotes perfection, which Heaven is seen as, and eternal life, and while wearing it we unite the spiritual world with this material world where the sovereign can receive divine inspiration to justly rule. For the Sir Knights of the Templar Orders and Christians, the cross reminds us of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but is much older than the Christian religion. To ancient cultures, the cross represented the Sun or has been a symbol of Earth and nature with the number Four representing the Cardinal directions, the changing seasons, the four winds, the quarters of the moon, and the alchemical elements. Like the crown does, the cross may also emblematically represent the union of Heaven and Earth. The number four also reminds us of the Four Evangelists and their Gospels. By it are we reminded of time and the delineation of seasons, as it was on the Fourth Day that God put lights in the firmament to separate light from darkness, to mark days, and to outline the passing of seasons and time.
Members of the Society wore a uniform composed of a white robe with a red Latin cross over the right breast. For local officers, the cross is a Latin Cross is worn and Patriarchal Cross is worn for Supreme officers, except for the Supreme Worthy President (and Past Supreme Worthy Presidents) who wear a Salem Cross. This uniform is not worn outside the Assembly. During public ceremonies, they often wear a black skirt, white blouse, and red jacket.
The Social Order of the Beauceant is an unusual group found in Freemasonry as it is one of the few that only admits women, but is even more so as it limited to ladies tied with the Commandery of Knights Templar.
1. About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from Social Order of the Beauceant Georgia Assembly: http://www.soobga.com/aboutus.html
2. Assemblies. (n.d.). Retrieved from Supreme Assembly of the Social Order of the Beauceant: http://www.knightstemplar.org/soob/assemblies.html
3. Ocala Assembly No.249. (2011). Retrieved from Social Order of the Beauceant: http://www.mastermason.com/oyrb/SOOB.htm
4. Social Order of the Beauceant. (n.d.). Retrieved from Appendant Bodies: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/freemasonry/how_do_i/orders/orders.htm
5. Social Order of the Beauceant. (n.d.). Retrieved from Worth Commandery No.19: http://www.worthcommandery.org/social-order-of-the-beauceant.html
6. Supreme Officers. (n.d.). Retrieved from Supreme Assembly of the Social Order of the Beauceant: http://www.knightstemplar.org/soob/officers.html
7. The Social Order of the Beauceant. (n.d.). Retrieved from Women's Groups Related to the Freemasons: http://www.dummies.com/religion/spirituality/womens-groups-related-to-the-freemasons/
8. What is the SOOB? (n.d.). Retrieved from Supreme Assembly of the Social Order of the Beauceant: http://www.knightstemplar.org/soob/membership.html