The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Order of the Rose

 A member from Coraopolis, PA contacted me asking for information & my thoughts re: Order of the Rose. There was a difference of opinion in her chapter about the qualifications & she asked for explanations & my thoughts in regard to it. This prompted much time researching information about when the first one was given, where & reasons it was established, culminating in a discussion with the author of the Order of the Rose himself, one Bill Ross! Below is my response.

The Order of the Rose is an honor given by a chapter or city council to a member who has distinguished herself in Beta Sigma Phi. The manner in which she distinguishes herself is a matter of interpretation.

This makes me think of the beginning text of the Laureate Ritual. I remember how impressed and fascinated I was when first I heard it. And it is something I will not forget! It states, "There is not just one way to be a Beta Sigma Phi, but the search for the Good, the True and the Beautiful makes of all possible ways a unity which is recognizably Beta Sigma Phi."

Ethel Parry, a member of Missouri Xi Alpha Chapter in Kansas City, was the first recipient of the Order of the Rose. Members of her chapter and city council thought she should be honored in a special way for all the outstanding contributions she had made to our Sisterhood. Hence, Bill established this honorary degree in 1954 shortly after he was named President of the International Executive Council. He felt, too, there ought to be a constant search for personal achievement and recognition of that achievement. The Order of the Rose was introduced to the membership on Founder's Day of 1955.

As stated in The Book of Beta Sigma Phi:

  "This is an honor designed to express the gratitude and esteem of a chapter or city council toward an active or honorary member.

  The candidate would be notable for her fidelity to the ideals of Beta Sigma Phi, her industry, and for her loyal devotion to the organization throughout the whole period of her membership.

  To qualify for the Order of the Rose, a member must be presently active in an Exemplar, Preceptor, Laureate or Master Degree chapter, if such a chapter is available.

  She must hold the highest degree for which she is eligible. (I know this is not currently included in The Book of Beta Sigma Phi, but will be in its next printing.)

  She must have been active for 15 years. If she has been on leave of absence or has had a membership-at-large, she must have a total of 15 years active participation in chapters. The same would apply to an honorary member who has served a chapter or city council for a total of 15 years."

Personally speaking, it seems to me the second paragraph defines eligibility. "The candidate for this honor would be notable for her fidelity to the ideals of Beta Sigma Phi, her industry, and her loyal devotion to the organization throughout the whole period of her membership." Whether she has attended meetings loyally for 15 years, or whether she has attended meetings loyally for 15 years and given more of herself to the success of the organization, both are to be commended and are worthy of honor. It is all in how we interpret her loyalty and faithfulness. This is where it gets interesting and really is a matter of interpretation.

As a result of a conversation with Bill about this honorary degree, I had to re-think the value of 15 years of active participation!

For example, one member in the chapter could meet the requirements with exemplary service to our Sisterhood. For 15 years, she could have perfect attendance, she could have Friendly Ventured a new chapter; she is one all members could depend on to always be there for them. This member gives when others can't (or choose not to); she participates in council activities, serves on special committees, gives tireless efforts serving on chapter and/or council committees, contributes in numerous ways to her sisters, the organization as a whole and finds ways to serve her community as well. Another member could be active with regular attendance and devotion to the ideals. Nothing more. Period. Both convey faithfulness, steady and earnest efforts and loyalty -- albeit, in different ways.

As pointed out to me, attending meetings and actively participating in Beta Sigma Phi for 15 years deserves recognition in itself and International gives tacit approval to every good thought and deed of a member. The members who give more (than just attending meetings) not only receive the honor of Order of the Rose after 15 years, but gather on their journey a richness of experience and the reward of knowing they have given the best that was in them. And, they are recognized for a job very well done! It's a matter of personal growth and achievement. As stated in our Pledge Ritual, the Love of our Sisterhood and the Fellowship of Beta Sigma Phi . . . enriches most who gives the most. It's individual choice. Those who give most receive most.

To confirm the candidate's eligibility for Order of the Rose, a Resolution form or petition (secured from the International Office), is to be signed by two-thirds of the active members of the chapter or city council. Members sign their names on the form for those whom they believe eligible.

Bottom line: Members of the chapter and/or city council themselves determine whether or not a member is deserving of this honor. This is an honorary degree conferred upon a member by her sorority sisters.

Some might think that if a member does nothing more than attend meetings, she probably shouldn't be rewarded with this honor. When you stop to think about it though, 15 years of attending meetings and actively participating (I believe this is the key) in an organization has to be worth something! Devotion and dedication to the ideals are enough alone. I would venture to say, however, that a member with 15 years of active participation would be contributing a lot more than just attending meetings! In fact, I recall a member in my own Exemplar chapter some years ago. She is not one who would or made significant contributions to the success of the chapter year after year, or Beta Sigma Phi for that matter. But, she was always there. We could always depend on her to be present for whatever the occasion. She was one we knew we could always count on. And, that was her way, perhaps the only way, she had of contributing. After 15 years, we did sign the Resolution form for her to receive the Order of the Rose. And she was deeply touched and so very grateful. Her appreciation for this special honor is something I will never forget. The thought of that particular Founder's Day all these years later still warms my heart.

Others who believe you have to make innumerable contributions to sorority before you can receive the Order of the Rose know they can and are rewarded in other ways and probably have been, i.e., chosen as Woman of the Year, given special awards for achievement, recognition for service, honors, etc.

The Order of the Rose Degree is Beta Sigma Phi's Honorary degree. Long service to the sorority and outstanding devotion to its ideals qualify a member to receive this high honor in Beta Sigma Phi.

I have great faith and trust in the membership and know, when asked to do the right thing, sorority sisters can always be counted on to do just that! After all, they are Beta Sigma Phi! If members in your chapter (or city council) believe a sister is worthy of the honor of Order of the Rose, they will confer it upon her.

To download Order of the Rose Attribute Cards, click here

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