Jan 30, 2014

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Founder’s Day 2014

JANUARY 18, 2014

We are gathered today to not only meet over business of the Ottawa City Union of The King’s Daughters and Sons, but to recall to mind and to appreciate the founders of our very dear organization.

So I say Happy Founder’s Day.

It’s not every organization that can mark this milestone date. The organization has to have been around for a long time. So what is Founder’s Day?
I think it’s an occasion to celebrate our organization and its beginning. Bring out the birthday cake.

It’s a time to commemorate those ladies who had vision, courage and faith. Thanks!

It’s a time to reflect on the founding principles, the reasons the founders had for coming together and forming a group.

So what are we remembering, the founding of The King’s Daughters and Sons on the date of Jan. 13, 1886. Who are we remembering, 10 ladies, namely Margaret Bottome, Mary Lowe Dickinson, Georgianna Libby, Marie Louise Irving, Mary Frances Payson, Susan Schenck, Virginia Depeyster Field, Helen Hammersley, Grace Ruggles and Isabella Charles Davis.

What was the time like preceding 1886. In the USA, there had been the Civil War 1861-1865, the Indian wars in the West were still going on and in the rest of the world there were conflicts. Maybe for us the Boer War would stand out. In the midst of this, an organization of love and peace comes in to being. I think it is interesting to note that also in 1886, the Statute of Liberty was dedicated.

What did these 10 ladies have in common, well they were ladies. Women were not in prominence as they are today. However, the Women’s Rights Movement was in full swing, women were being educated and having some wealth, as these ladies did, gave them time to be involved in the community. Again it is interesting to note that Avon was started in 1886.

They were active Christian women and were motivated by their faith to start IOKDS. The denominations of the 10 ladies were Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian. Perhaps we should emphasis this example of ecumenism not only as a historical point, but as a way of being in this day and age, when Christianity seems to be under attack. Let’s show respect for each other differences and celebrate what we have in common.

It is always good to look back and rediscover those basic premises, the vision that brought these ladies together. These sentiments are found in key words that still apply today. “The chosen motto: Look up and not down, Look forward and not back, Look out and not in, And lend a hand, represents the attributes of faith, hope, and altruistic service, which should characterize the members of the Order.” (1)

The purpose of religious, educational and philanthropic actions sustains the Biblical text: Not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Mark 10:45.

The objectives were the development of spiritual life and the stimulation of Christian activity. These words or very similar are found in the first IOKDS constitution of 1887 and in Branch constitutions and at other levels.

Though we praise the 10 ladies, in truth it is Margaret Bottome that had a lot of influence. She was the founder and first president from 1886 to 1906, the year she died. She was known for leading Bible studies, giving spiritual talks in homes, meeting to pray. Yes, there was a lot more emphasis on coming together to share our faith, then perhaps we do today.

The wearing of the cross, as a symbol of faith was important to her. She wrote about the idea of founding of IOKDS, saying she had wished she wore “a badge that would have denoted service to humanity”. (2) Later it was decided by the first members that the badge would be a little silver Maltese cross.

Besides being gifted as a great speaker, she was a noted writer. She not only contributed to the IOKDS publication, The Silver Cross, she was a regular contributor to The Ladies Home Journal, from 1889 to 1905. Copies of her articles can be found in our museum in Chautauqua, N.Y. To me this proves that communications is a very important part of IOKDS. Communications in those early years was a lot more limited than to-day. Meeting in each other’s homes, writing letters and articles was more common. Yet IOKDS just grew – a testimony to word of mouth communication.

I would like to encourage members and Circle meetings to read some part of what I affectionately call the purple book, but listed as “The History of The International Order of The King’s Daughters and Sons, which covers the first 100 years.

It could be a good exercise for Circles to read over the early pages on Mrs Bottome and the others, and discuss them. Not only are her words there, but motivations for doing deeds and spreading the word. Perhaps an inspiration or two?

Let’s close with an answer from her son, George H. Bottome, about IOKDS:

“My mother never had any doubt about it. God founded it. Whatever human instruments He used, the one thing she felt should be kept in mind was that God was responsible for it. She emphasized its splendid possibilities, because she believed that, only as the Holy Spirit moved and inspired its members, was the Order worth while.” (3)

IN HIS NAME, Happy Founder’s Day!!!

Jackie Maurais, Ontario Branch President

From the “Purple Book”: 1: p. 23, 2: p. 26, 3: p. 33

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