Masonic Widows Program of the Grand Lodge of Maine was initiated by the
19th Masonic District, inspired by the late Mrs. Ralph J. Pollard and
approved at the one hundred and sixtieth annual communication.
The Program is endorsed, but not regulated, by the Grand Lodge of Maine.
It is a voluntary project adopted by the local Lodge to fit its own needs,
and is voluntary from the bottom up, and not compulsory from the top down.
Adoption and implementation remain a Lodge's special privilege.
It was developed to extend the hand of fellowship and guidance to the
widow of a Master Mason, specifically to let her know that she is remembered,
not forgotten, and that she belongs to our Masonic Family.
This Manual comprises material and ideas derived from programs and publications
of our Sister Grand Lodges. We are particularly grateful to the Grand
Lodges of California, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Washington. We have
drawn upon their material frequently and have adopted a likeness of the
format of their excellent work. Our intent is not to seek credit for anything
previously implemented, but rather, to utilize the talent, expertise and
material existing in all Grand Jurisdictions.
We would urge the use of this manual with care. It is not perfect. Time
and experience will enable us to produce a document that could become
the basis for a viable productive program, the continuation of which throughout
successive years could conceivably perpetuate a bond which should inevitably
inure to the credit and honor of our fraternity.
To provide a program with appropriate material that will enable each
individual Mason in the State of Maine to demonstrate his fidelity to
the obligation he took upon himself to help, aid and assist our Masonic
This manual concerns the widows of Master Masons of the Grand Lodge
of Maine, wheresoever located. It also includes the widows of Master
Masons (sojourners) residing within this Grand Jurisdiction. Further,
it provides the procedures and suggested responsibilities for the implementation
of a viable Masonic Widows Program.
4.1 Special Committee -- Masonic
Widows Program -- Team offour
past masters; i.e., a chairman and an appointee for the northern central
and southern sections of the State. (Attach. #1).
4.2 Regional Directors -- Three appointees,
as noted in paragraph 4.1 above.
4.3 District Coordinators -- Individuals
selected to coordinate the program within their respective Masonic
4.4 District Representatives -- Individuals
selected to assist the coordinators noted in paragraph
4.5 Lodge Chairman -- Program leader
consisting of an appointed member other than secretary or master.
4.6 Sojourner -- A Master Mason residing
within the jurisdiction of a Masonic Lodge but holding membership
in another jurisdiction within or without this state.
4.7 Widow's Pin -- A gold-plated,
small diameter laurel wreath encircling the symbolic "broken
column'. (Attach. #2)
4.8 Grand Chaplain's Letter -- Official
Grand Lodge letter of condolence forwarded to each Master Mason's
wife at widowhood. (Attach. #3)
4.9 Lodge Letter -- Official letter
of condolence from presiding Master to newly-widowed Master Mason's
wife (Attach. #4).
4.10 Master File -- Official Grand
Lodge card file, listing essential data of each widow, i.e. name,
address, telephone number, Lodge number, etc. (Attach
5.1 What is it? -- It is a planned
program, structured and organized to manage and effectively utilize
the knowledge and expertise existing in this Grand Jurisdiction. It
has been developed to enable each individual lodge to be of greater
service to its membership. It provides an opportunity for each member
to participate in a viable expression of concern for our Masonic widows.
5.2 What does it do? -- It provides
each lodge with suggested minimum standards, including appropriate
language, that may assist each member in fulfilling his often repeated
obligation to the widow. It extends the hand of friendship and concern
to the wife of our deceased brother
5.3 How does it function? -- A lodge
which participates will utilize and call upon the special committee
on Masonic Widows Program to provide the essential details. Each Worshipful
Master shall appoint a lodge chairman who shall constitute a lodge
committee of not less than three other members to implement this program.
5.4 Why is it needed? -- How often
has your lodge conducted a Masonic funeral service for a deceased
brother, sent the widow a card of sympathy (if at all) and then discontinued
further contact until someone reports that she is in need of help?
Does your lodge remember the widows of your departed brethren, extend
the hand of friendship to the widows of sojourners, make an effort
to show them that you even care?
How many lodges have made a list of the widows to whom their members
are bound, complete with addresses and telephone numbers, and set
out on a program to call upon each one to determine first hand whether
the brethren can do anything to be of assistance, and then to follow
up from time to time? How does your lodge identify and determine those
of its widows who may be in need of assistance?
5.5 How can I help? -- Every Mason
has an obligation to ascertain if his lodge is participating in the
program, specifically the following:
Bring the message contained herein to the attention of the membership.
Compile a list of Masonic widows residing within your lodge jurisdiction,
however incomplete it may be at this time.
Demonstrate individually and collectively that Masonry "does
care for its own".
Adopt a positive attitude that may stimulate interest and improved
attendance, encourage more applications and retard the trend of declining
Start waking up this maligned, but much too often unchallenged "Masonic
Begin practicing Masonry-in-action by implementing the subject Widow's
Acknowledge and eliminate the criticism "that we have neglected
our Masonic widows much too long".
Ensure that your wife's future (as a possible widow) will not be
one of loneliness and neglect.
5.6 What are its services? -- Friendship
and guidance to letthe
widow know that she has been remembered, not forgotten,and that she still belongs to our
Masonic family, specifically:
Certificate of Remembrance and lapel pin (Attach.
#2) Grand Lodge recognition (Grand Chaplain's
letter, Attach. #3) Invitations to all lodge social events (Attach.
#7) Transportation to doctor, dentist, hospital, store, etc. Personal
visits and attention. Personal notes -- birthdays, holidays, special
events. (Stress -- other than Secretary) Lodge trestle boards Additional
6. General Requirements
6.1 Committee Masonic Widows Program -- This special committee is composed of four past masters, a chairman
and three regional directors insofar as the State of Maine has been
divided into three regions. Lodges that comprise a region are designated
on Attach. #l. This team is responsible for the
Administer the statewide Widows Program. Coordinate all levels of
program organizations structure. Maintain current the master copy
of this manual. Conduct regional workshops when advisable. Provide
direction and guidelines as requested. Maintain a master file of program
correspondence. Maintain a master widows' file. Prepare consolidated
evaluation reports for the Grand Master. Provide liaison services
as required. Coordinate through the Grand Lodge and Lodges of Instruction
in each district.
Notify Grand Chaplain of deceased brethren. Provide liaison support
at all levels. Provide clerical support services when available. Provide
computer data when needed.
7.2 Lodge Secretary -- (May or may
not delegate these duties to Lodge Program Chairman.)
Notify Grand Secretary of deceased (Attach. 2a).
Prepare and forward lodge letter of condolence (Attach.
4) Provide administrative services when available. Notify home
lodge of deceased sojourner of our program. (Attach.
Following endorsement of program by Grand Lodge May 2, 1979.
8.1 Basic Instruction -- Master invites
special committee (Para. 4.1) representatives to
explain program at lodge meeting or when ladies are present. At subsequent
meeting lodge decides whether to adopt the program. Lodge committee
is appointed, number of members dependent upon size of lodge. Details
(Attach. #6) are utilized, but may be revised
to special needs of each lodge. Article regarding program is placed
in trestleboard to inform brethren. Special instructions will be given
through Lodges of Instruction and other contacts by the Grand Lodge
through its District Deputies in coordination with the District Chairman
and Lodge Chairman and committees.
8.2 Existing Widows -- Letter is
sent to each widow to familiarize her with lodge activities (follow-up
calls are suggested.)When
"Remembrance certificates" and pins are presented(Attach. #2), brief explanation should
be made by letterand
follow-up phone calls, after presentation of pin.(Note: This is an opportunity for pin presentations ata Widows night.)
8.3 New Widows -- When the decease
of a brother has occurred, it is suggested that a letter of condolence
be mailed, requesting permission to meet with his widow to present
to her the certificate (Attach. #4).
8.4 Schedules of Activities -- A
listing of each year's social events to which widows are invited is
prepared and forwarded to each (Attach. #7).
9.1 Special Committee to Grand Master -- See team functions (Para. 6.1).
9.2 Worshipful Masters to special committee (see Para. 6.5).
11.1 Coordination -- Special committee
is composed of four past masters to act as chairmen, and regional
directors in each of the three Masonic districts. In response to a
written committee request, each District Deputy Grand Master shall
appoint and select a past master to represent his district as a "District
Coordinator". Letters are sent to each designated past master
by District Deputy Grand Master soliciting their assistance and explaining
District Coordinators workshop will be conducted throughout the jurisdiction
for review and exchange of ideas including special efforts at each
Lodge of Instruction as the program becomes implemented.
Upon request of Master, the District Coordinator will make presentation
to lodge, distribute a copy of manual and when requested will assist
in coordinating the program.
11.2 Promotion -- Newsletters mailed
to Coordinators, representatives and Worshipful Masters. Grand Master's
Masters (Attach. #8). During Grand Lodge communication a display booth
will be manned to answer questions and distribute printed material.
11.3 Expenses -- Special committee
costs involve printing, distribution of printed material and postage.
Individual lodge expenses could include remembrance certificates,
widows' pins and admission costs to activities. Grand Lodge will obtain
pins for Lodges to purchase and present to their widows. Lodges may
utilize lodge charity funds or solicit from members the cost of pins.
11.4 Inquiries -- Address questions
on organization, implementation as well as recommendations to your
District Coordinator, or write to:
Masonic Widows Program
Grand Lodge of Maine
PO Box 430
Holden, ME 04429
-ANCIENT- FREE AND
ACCEPTED MASONS MASONIC
PORTLAND, MAINE 04101
Any Street, Box 04000
Anywhere, ME 04000
As Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Maine, I write you on behalf
of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, We express our deepest sympathy
and distress in the loss of your beloved husband, our friend and Brother.
Brother was a credit to the Craft, who by precept and example exhibited
to his fellow man, as well as to his brethren, the true meaning of Freemasonry.
His loss will be noted by all who knew him, and most especially by those
who walked by his side in fraternal life.
(This space is left to encourage personalized comments relative to
the decedent or his family.)
Our thoughts and concerns are with you at this time, and we hope that
you will continue to find the strength and refuge you need from our
Most sincerely, in the name of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Maine.
LODGE LETTER OF CONDOLENCE
(Your Lodge Letterhead)
Mrs. Jane Doe
000 Any Street
Big City, ME 04000
Dear Mrs. Doe:
On behalf on all the members of this Lodge, please accept our condolences
at this time of your great loss.
As Masons, we are concerned with the general welfare of our brother
members, their wives, widows and families, and hope that you will allow
this Lodge to continue to be a part of your life. There are events which
have been especially planned to include the ladies. You. will be informed
of them from time to time and we encourage you to participate.
(This space is left to encourage personalized comments relative to
the decedent or his family.)
Brother _______, who is a member of our Lodge, will phone you in the
near future to give you additional information.
Team: Lodge _____________________No. _______________________Widows'
At least three plus a chairman for each lodge.
Do not assign Lodge officers (solicit and utilize their ideas and talents).
Remember, we are attempting to give members who are not ritualistically
inclined an opportunity to practice Masonry.
Select individuals who are interested, dedicated and compassionate
and are not necessarily presently active in lodge affairs, service organizations,
educational, church groups, etc.
Identify Masonic widows in your jurisdiction. Include widows of sojourning
Masons. (Utilize secretary's records, Eastern Star, churches, etc.)
Prepare a 3x5 index card file of Masonic Widows (Attach. #4) in duplicate.
Schedule personal visits, at least four or five times a year.
Note health of individual, conditions of buildings, property, car,
Note circumstances where Lodge can assist. Visitor should never give
any indication of charity (remember their personal pride). This is a
social call. State that you are a member of the Lodge Widows' Team,
whose function is to visit widows. Remind them that they are still members
of our Masonic family and restate our offer of assistance and service.
Observe if transportation problems exist, such as to doctors, dentist,
hospital appointments, etc., identifying any special needs.
Recommend lodge assistance or services to the Worshipful Master only.
Do not discuss in Lodge for this might be considered an invasion of
Locate the burial place of the deceased Brother (record on index card
- Attach. #4). Periodically check the gravesite for care, markers, baskets,
Obtain widow's birth date (record on index card - Attach. #4). Send
card, preferably a handwritten note, each year. Consider a note for
Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
Be ever alert for Masonic widows other than those of your Lodge residing
in your jurisdiction. Include them on your list and serve accordingly.
Notify her husband's Lodge as to her present address, our program, etc.
When the Lodge learns of the death of a brother, send the duplicate
index card to the Grand Lodge office, attention of the Grand Lodge Committee
on Masonic Widows. This requirement is a team function and should not
become an added burden or be assigned to the Lodge Secretary. (NOTE:
Unless the secretary desires to do this.)
Submit a written report at each stated meeting listing accomplishments,
specifically names of widows visited, those receiving cards, etc. This
report is intended to inform the Brethren on the progress of the program
and, hopefully, solicit additional names of widows. Attendance at stated
meetings could be enhanced by this report-type approach. Team attendance
at the stated meetings is not mandatory. One member should attend to
read the report, make recommendations when needed, answer questions,
Suggested revision, additions, etc. should be forwarded to the Grand
Lodge Committee on Masonic Widows for incorporation and distribution.
Interchange of ideas, deeds, etc. is vital.
All Grand Masters have definite goals that we hope to attain during
our term of office. One that we hope to pursue is the Masonic Widows
Program. Details of that plan are now available at the Grand Lodge office,
the preliminary acceptance of which is heartwarming and rewarding.
In that vein, I would ask the following personal favor of each individual
lodge. Specifically, compile a list of known Masonic widows residing
in your jurisdiction and then write a personal handwritten Christmas
note to each one prior to that date. (Delegate this job to other than
line officers, then follow up for compliance.) Utilize as many individuals
as necessary; our intent is to involve as many as possible. Seek out
wives if penmanship is a problem. Inexpensive paper is fine. It is the
personal touch that is important. If several persons are involved, sign
the note (Lodge No. , Masonic Widows Team).
Maine Masons have been characterized as diffident, apathetic, victims
of changing times, etc. Maine Masons, when given the tools, guidelines
and the cause to aid others, especially in their own Masonic family,
will respond to that need.
Let's become involved in the Widows Program. We have neglected them
much too long. Show me that my faith in Maine Masons is not an idle
dream; reassurance is a vital factor. I'm depending on you.
Fraternally and sincerely,
We here in (Lodge No. ) are thinking of you today because it is Christmas
and we wish you much happiness, and tomorrow because it will be the
day after Christmas, we shall still wish you happiness and so on through
the new year.
"We may not be able to tell you about it every day but that makes
no difference; the thought and the wish will be here just the same."
Prior to our District Deputies Association meeting, I wrote to the
Grand Master, offering him the talent and expertise of our membership
in any program he felt worthy that would help make his term a more meaningful
and productive one. We think we have found a terrific program that needs
At that meeting, the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education detailed
a course of action that will ensure that all facets of ritual, symbolism,
protocol, etc. will be presented to the lodges. However, there did not
appear to be any organized program designed to extend the hand of fellowship
and guidance to widows of lodge members. Specifically, to let her know
that she is remembered and that she belongs to our Masonic family.
Observing this deficiency, our Grand Master informed me that he had
authorized the development of a Masonic Widows Program, the continuation
of which through successive years could conceivably perpetuate a bond
which would serve to establish an image of which the brethren could
be rightfully proud.
The program. is endorsed, but not regulated, by the Grand Lodge of
Maine. It is a voluntary project adopted by the local lodge to fit its
own needs, and is voluntary from the bottom up and not compulsory from
the top down. Adoption and implementation remain a lodge's special privilege.
Based on the above details and the Grand Master's appeal for the assistance
of this Association, I stated that we would take an active part in the
establishment, coordination and implementation of the Maine Masonic
Widows Program. Specifically to assist the (to be appointed) special
Grand Lodge Committee on the Masonic Widows Program.
Are we willing to accept this challenge and set the example? It must
start somewhere, why not here? This is an opportunity for us to collectively
do something. Let's implement the Widows Program. Make it our program,
make it work! If you would like to help, please let me know right away.
The written material and other details are being developed and we need
assistance with many details on the local and district levels.
Sincerely and fraternally,
MAINE DISTRICT DEPUTIES ASSOCIATION
Guidelines that may help Lodges in planning a program:
Select individuals to carry out the following planning functions:
Invitations - (Attach. #l0a) Mail at least one month prior to the date
of the event (they may have commitments). Hand write (optional), do
not use a form letter. Make it personal. Have wives help you write them.
Transportation - Arrange for personal "follow-up" wherever
distance is not a problem. Ensure that transportation to and from their
home is provided. Have friends, relatives, etc., (not strangers) bring
her to the event. In your follow-up visit (noted in your invitation)
to those that have written they will not be able to attend, see if you
can determine the reason. It may be physical, hardship, etc. and may
bring to light instances where the widows team can help in their future
lodge program. However, anticipate mixed reactions. Some widows may
be real cool and even outspoken. Remain calm, listen, and remember we
have not been near many of them for years. Explain that your Lodge is
now a member of a statewide Masonic program that intends to correct
our past unorganized concern for our special ladies. Try to mend fences,
even though your "ears may be ringing".
Program - Prepare a simple program booklet, attractive enough for a
souvenir. (Attach. #l0b - need not be this elaborate.) Select greeters
to meet our honored guests at the door, pin corsages or (your choice)
nameplates and programs. Introduce them to others that have arrived,
make them feel at home, encourage them to socialize.
Entertainment - Provide an enjoyable evening, limit time to one hour
or so. Barbershop groups and musical interludes have worked well. Avoid
long speeches, slides, plays, etc. Consider the ages of your guests.
Dinner - Prepared by Lodge officers (more meaningful to all); endeavor
to involve as many members as you can. Be selective of menu (consider
Tickets - Keep price within reason (this is not to make money). Expenses
may be correctly taken from general expense account. Free tickets to
honored guests (widows, Grand Master or Deputy Grand Master, Minister,
and their wives).
Seating arrangements for dinner - Arrange tables, place settings, table
decorations, etc. Do not crowd seats (never use paper plates or plastic
utensils). Provide place cards for head table only. Honored guests should
be seated with their friends and wherever they wish.
Lodge Hall - Arrange special seats for the guests, facing the East,
and in front of the Altar. Seats should be tagged in alphabetical sequence.
Arrange seats in semi-circles, allowing aisle space for Grand Master
and Worshipful Master to personally greet each widow. Master of Ceremonies
will call roll as widows are greeted. Those not able to attend will
have their letter read, or their address given or some "chit-chat".
Follow-up (day after event) - Assign team or lodge member to visit
widows who did not attend. Present her corsage, nameplate, program and
a list of all the lodge widows and their addresses. Tell her about the
occasion, who was there, people she might know, etc. Leave a card with
names and phone numbers of whom to call in case of need or information.
Do not say "call so and so". Provide a business-type card
so that they may carry it or leave by a phone.
You have now taken the initial step -- follow the program guidelines
for each lodge (Attach. #6).
Remember, the widows' program is not a "once a -year event".
It is a well-defined program of year-round attention and concern. Do
not engulf your widows for a short time and then ignore them the rest
of the year. Do not wait for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. Visit
them, as we have found that their prime concern is loneliness and to
whom they can turn when needed. Try to erase their possible feeling
that we are too busy to care, or as we. have been called, "diffident".
As a special member of our "Masonic Family", you are cordially
invited to the Masonic Temple in on the th, at 6:00 p.m.,as a special
guest of (Lodge) #
A dinner and informal evening of entertainment has been planned for
your enjoyment. A Lodge member will be in touch to provide details on
transportation and other questions.
Fraternally and sincerely,
Team Chairman or Wor. Master
To widows residing in other states, etc., add the following paragraph:
As distance is a vital factor in your situation, and you are unable
to attend, a note of your activities, health, etc. would be greatly
appreciated. It will be included with the roll call introductions of
our local guests.
XXXXXXXX LODGE NO. XXX
A. F. & A. M.
Greeters Welcome - Social Period
Convene for Dinner 6:30 p.m.
Master of Ceremonies
Introduction - Head Table
Welcome - Lodge Master,
Convene to Lodge Hall for Program
Introduction of (Grand Lodge Officer)
Greetings - (Grand Lodge Officer)
Introduction of Honored Guests
Remarks - Masonic Widows Program
Remarks - (Grand Lodge Officer)
WIDOW'S TEAM, XXXXX LODGE # XXX
Attachment No. 11a
(Dr. William D. Brown, 32°, VA)
Often we are at a loss as to what we should say to one
recently widowed, usually mumbling something like, "Call me if
there's anything I can do."
Following the frenzied activity during the first few weeks of widowhood,
the widow needs more understanding and assistance than ever in making
a transition to life without her beloved mate. Visitation by Masons
and their wives can prove most helpful at this time, with our listening
as the bereaved goes about working out her sojourn through the Valley
of the Shadows. Occasionally it may even be appropriate to offer counsel,
if we are qualified.
Many newly bereaved report an intense awareness of loneliness during
the first major holiday season following the death of a mate. The fragility
of life appears most real then, when for the first time total awareness
of being left alone may crash down upon the senses.
There is no more difficult situation confronted in life than when the
once happily married is required to adjust to life without the presence
of a beloved mate. On occasion it seems more than one can bear. Yet,
we underestimate our ability to adjust to change. Though this adjustment
is among life's most difficult, there are steps which when followed
will make it easier for the remaining spouse to adjust to her first
holiday season alone.
We can best fulfill our Masonic responsibility by emphasizing the following
with a Brother's widow as she is assisted in making adequate adjustment
to her heartfelt loss during this first holiday season. She should be
1. To avoid placing undue emphasis on the absence of-her loved one:
Special holiday practices previously enjoyed with her spouse should
not be dwelt upon to the exclusion of all else. Too- much emphasis in
recalling significant practices shared with him over the years is not
helpful. In attaching undue emphasis to past memories, opportunities
are forever lost to make this a meaningful holiday season in spite of
a heavy heart.
2. To avoid the temptation to ignore her loss. This may sound contradictory
with the above but attempts to ignore the absence of a loved one during
the holidays is both superficial and futile. While the widow should
not place "undue" emphasis on the void in her life, she should
never ignore it. Denial of the reality of her loss will only delay the
necessary process of reality adjustment. Some time should be spent reflecting
on the past, but ample time should be allotted for experiencing the
joys present in this current holiday season. New experiences significantly
aid the adjustment to this next era of life.
3. To run--at all costs--from the entrapment of self-pity. Fondly recalling
love once shared during holiday seasons may cause wistful feelings of
self-pity. Far better to avoid pandering to her worst, rather devoting
attention to establishing new holiday traditions, as difficult as this
may be. Indeed, the ability to make satisfactory adjustments to future
holiday seasons is directly dependent upon establishing new patterns
of responding to the holiday during this first holiday season spent
4. To recognize the necessity of refusing no invitations during this
holiday season. In recent years the couple may not have accepted many
invitations during the holiday season due to failing health of the deceased.
Providing her health is good,.this practice should now be reversed,
with her accepting (within reason) every invitation extended. If invitations
are few, she should be encouraged to host some events this season. This
would assure quick reciprocity from friends, further easing her return
to increased holiday involvement with friends and loved ones. Masons
should take special care to see that our widows are included in festive
activities during the season.
5. To discover the joy in doing something to make the holiday season
more meaningful to another. Moving away from her own sorrow in reaching
out to help another is perhaps the best therapy available for the bereaved.
She might be encouraged at last to carry out some act of kindness for
another only considered in the past. Crippled children confined to Shriners
Hospitals have many needs that could best be met by mature adults. Others
facing their first holiday season alone may be even more lonely than
she. Truly we begin to find ourselves as we lose ourselves in service
to another. Ample opportunities exist, waiting for someone to reach
out and take advantage of them.
Helping widows of our fallen Brethren make this traumatic adjustment
through using these steps will not cause loneliness to disappear but
its impact can be softened in this manner. For the secret to discovering
fulfillment in life is found in reaching beyond ourselves to help another
more distressed than are we.
This is when we enjoy the first fruits of Masonry being lived, as we
help our widows make this important adjustment in their lives. It begins
to dawn upon us that all the good things life has to offer will be ours
if we will but first help enough other people achieve what it is they
Let us seriously consider our obligation to care for the needs of our
Implementation of the Masonic Widows Program has posed
several questions concerning eligibility. The questions are valid, the
situations exist and are thought-provoking. Every Mason and Mason's
wife should read these through. The value of a paid-up dues card is
never more evident. Demits and suspensions (NPD) deprive members and
families of a valuable possession.
1. A Mason is suspended for non-payment of dues. He is never reinstated
because he never paid his back dues. He subsequently dies. Is his widow
a Masonic Widow, for the purposes of the Widows Program?
Ans. No. Suspensions NPD, without reinstatement unfortunately leave
his wife ineligible.
2. A Mason demits "in good standing" that is, he owes no
dues. He does not affiliate with any other lodge. He subsequently dies.
Is his widow a Masonic Widow, for the purposes of the Widows Program?
Ans. No. Demit means dismissal. He is a non-affiliate and as such is
not entitled to any Masonic rights or privileges. Thus the widow is
3. A Masonic widow marries a non-Mason. Do we assume she loses her
Masonic Widow's status?
Ans. Yes: Widow loses her eligibility.
4. If the answer to #3 above is "yes", but her non-Mason
husband also dies, would she then revert back to her former status as
a widow of her first Masonic husband?
Ans. No. Widow of former husband is ineligible by reason of remarriage.
5. A Mason and his wife are divorced. He subsequently dies. Do we assume
she is not a Masonic widow?
Ans. Yes. Widow is ineligible by reason of divorce (a legal dissolution
of a marriage contract).
6. A Mason and his wife are divorced. He subsequently remarries another
woman and later dies. Do we assume the first woman is not a widow, as
in #5 above, but that the second woman is the widow, and therefore a
Masonic widow for purposes of the Widows Program?
Ans. Yes. The second wife is the widow.
Symbolic Masonry and our appendant bodies here in Maine can be rightfully
proud of our Masonic charities. Each group addresses specific and vital
needs. The scope of concern for all groups should now encompass a situation
developing so gradually that it is well-established before becoming
apparent. The nemesis is loneliness and neglect. The Widows Program
affords a viable means of alleviating, if not eliminating, this dreaded
concern of our several thousand widows, hopefully in our lifetime.
Attachment No. 13a
THE COOPERATIVE EMISSARY
A MASTER MASON'S FAMILY
The Fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons has an eminent place
in the world's community as an active and beneficial society, placing
high among its purposes the well-being of its members.
Unfortunately there are some, having inadequate data, who are critical
of this large and old Fraternity. And some of our critics appear to
be justified ...their censure stemming from an apparent lack of concern,
by Masonic Lodges, of Masons in need of assistance.
Lest there be numbered among these some of our own families, this booklet
is written for the express purpose of enlightening the Master Mason's
family and friends as to the part they can play in eliminating any basis
for criticism of this Fraternity, so well loved by husbands, sons, brothers,
relatives and friends.
Accordingly, this booklet will be given on the evening when the Master
Mason degree is conferred. The new M.M. will be requested to have his
family read it, thoroughly understand it, and keep it available for
We ask that the family act to provide a communication link with the
Lodge so that it can fulfill its obligations to its members and their
Specifically mentioned early in these pages is "a communication
link" since Lodges find that the Master Mason is himself reluctant
to report to his Lodge that he is ill, injured, in financial distress
or in need of spiritual encouragement.
All too often does the Lodge hear of a member who has been confined
or hospitalized ....but not until he has recovered ...and is at home.
"This situation is one in which the Lodge cannot render assistance
when it is so essential to the member since it was unaware that the
member was indisposed or in need."
The Lodge wants to know of any confining illness (physical, mental
or spiritual); or any serious injury; or any financial requirements
for normal living ...promptly. Help is provided in many ways.
The Lodge wants to hear ...promptly...about and act upon any form of
incapacitation or confinement of the M.M. at home, in a hospital or
convalescent home, or elsewhere in any state or country. (A Lodge can
be located nearby to act as our ambassador.)
Nor does the Masonic Fraternity's assistance stop at the local level.
Through affiliated bodies, access is obtainable for crippled children's
programs, eye therapy and surgery, scholarship funds, etc.
We are aware, of course, that all Masons are not outstanding husbands
or fathers. In the occasional incidence of family neglect by a Mason,
report it to his Lodge and assistance to the family will be taken under
advisement ...financially or through social service.
In some cases, an illness or injury may result in permanent confinement
in the Mason's home or in some nursing-type facility to obtain proper
attention and care. Should this occur, the Lodge should be notified
While the Fraternity has emphatically impressed upon each petitioner
for Masonry that he is not applying to an insurance or benefit society,
it does nevertheless inform him of the probability of gratuitous benevolence
from the Lodge and/or his Brothers if circumstances and finances permit.
In this type of distress, many members are reluctant to make their needs
known and, once again, it is urged that the Lodge be informed so that
it can fulfill its obligations.
The most trying of family situations comes to all of us ..... death...
and with it the need for many quick decisions. When death occurs, please
notify the Lodge immediately. It will be its duty to assist in any way
The Lodge will offer to conduct a dignified and consoling Memorial
Service and will assist in any possible way with the interment.
It is customary for the deceased Mason to wear the apron which was
presented to him by his Lodge; therefore it is advisable that the family
know where the apron is stored and at the time of the Mason's death
be given to the funeral director for proper placing. This should be
done whether a Masonic Memorial Service is conducted or not.
HOW TO CONTACT THE LODGE
The most direct line to the Lodge is through the Worshipful Master
or the Secretary. Ask your Master Mason for the name, address and phone
number of each and keep it handy...do it once a year in December as
the incumbent in these offices may change.
Not knowing the Master's or Secretary's name (or any officer in the
Lodge), turn to the Yellow Pages "Fraternal Organizations"
listing where you will find listings of the specific Lodge name and/or
"Masonic Lodge" and/or "Masonic Temple" with its
street address. Call and give the necessary information. Also check
the white pages for Lodges not listed in the Yellow Pages.
If there is no answer to your daytime call to the Lodge, call during
the evening as most Lodges do not have personnel to man phones during
If you are still unsuccessful in contacting his Lodge, call any Mason
you know and ask him to relay your message ...or ask him for the Secretary's
In case of change of address, please notify the Lodge Secretary of
the new address as soon as possible in order that the communication
link from the Lodge to member be uninterrupted.
THE COOPERATIVE EMISSARY IN ACTION
Preceding paragraphs have noted several ways in which you, the Master
Mason's family, can share in shaping the Brotherhood side of Masonry:
exposing the avenue by which the Lodge may promptly concern itself with
a Mason or family in temporary need and opening the door for your greater
appreciation of the Fraternity which wants to do more.
The fullness of the spirit of Masonry will depend somewhat on the communication
link between you, the Emissary and the Lodge. You can be the Lodge's
partner in bringing assistance to our needy Brothers.
We have freely expressed our concern over the communication gap between
a Mason and his Lodge. We have left undone many acts of Brotherly Love
because we have not known soon enough of the need.
We ask the response of you, the family, to initiate this needed communication
link as necessary to become our Lodge's Cooperative Emissary.
SUMMARY FOR THE FAMILY
1. In case of sickness or injury of the Master Mason: notify the Lodge
giving nature of confinement, place of confinement, home or hospital,
and special needs, blood, financial, etc.
2. In case of death of the Master Mason: notify the Lodge, placeof funeral, locate M.M.'s apron, request Memorial Serviceif desired, request bearers from Lodge if needed.
Some lodges may be financially able to purchase pins from
FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT:
A. Ask for volunteers to sponsor one or more widows' pins. Some Brothers
may favor a particular widow and wish to present her with a pin. Others
may be able to afford contributions toward several pins.
B. Another method may be to ask all Brothers who would like to have
their wives included in the program, to purchase a pin and place it
on deposit with the Lodge so that should he pass through the East Gate,
a pin would be hers. Pins could be awarded from this pool.
C. If the Lodge so desired, this could be voted on as a 'once in a
lifetime' assessment to the members of the Lodge, including all future
members, participation thereby creating a perpetual program.
PINS AND CERTIFICATES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE GRAND