The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross


Mrs. Lynn Terry
Mrs. Lynn Terry

 Lynn Terry joined the International Staff in 1933 and was herself, BASIC BETA SIGMA PHI. Mrs. Terry formed new chapters, wrote beautiful program books for the early members; wrote the first book of Beta Sigma Phi, but most of all she will be remembered for her writing of the rituals.

 She embraced the spiritual side of Beta Sigma Phi helping Walter Ross create not just another women's club, but something special, something emotionally bonding, something lasting.

 A name had been chosen (The National What To Read Club) and then changed to a Greek letter one because, although the original name implied culture and learning, it did not embrace friendship or close kinship which from the beginning sprung up between us, and gave us inspiration.

 Quite often, Mr. Ross would engage members of the office staff in conversation and suddenly ask, "WHAT IS BETA SIGMA PHI AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?" As well, he would ask that same question when he was among the members.

 All of you have heard it too, in one form or another. It is a big question and requires a bigger answer every year. Mrs. Terry was asked the question. She turned to the members and she wrote, "THEY TOLD ME, SHOWED ME - SOMETIMES WHAT IT SHOULD NOT BE, OFTEN WHAT THEY BELIEVED IT COULD BE. WE ALL KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING!"

 She wrote: "We were living it, feeling it, eager to express it, hoping to find words that were worthy of it. The only vocabulary I could find that seemed adequate was the vocabulary of ART. From this premise we began to formulate our 'credo'. The programs and rituals now had a direction.

 A small book was printed and called "The Living Masterpiece." And the title of that book quite literally means YOU! Every member of Beta Sigma Phi is a masterpiece in the making! Our little book, like Beta Sigma Phi itself, is sort of a guide, a statement of our basic beliefs and a charting of the way to make an art of living.

 Rituals are the spiritual programming by which Beta Sigma Phi feeds into the minds and hearts of the members the basic data from which in time they will be rewarded.

 Today, more than ever before, we all understand the importance of "feeding" into our own minds and hearts, every constructive thought and high ideal possible, since these alone can lift a life from mediocrity to meaningful expression and experience.

 Lynn Terry authored our early rituals - the ones 'in the beginning' - the basics of which there were three:

  1. The ritual by which a member pledged herself to the ideals and purposes of the organization
  2. The ritual for the opening of meetings
  3. The ritual by which a meeting was closed

 Each expressed a brief and straightforward statement of the purpose it served.

 What would Beta Sigma Phi be without our beautiful rituals? They are part of all we stand for. Remember learning them? Think about what we would be missing without these beautiful words and thoughts and how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live by such encouraging ideals and directives.



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