Women of Freemasonry: Electa

Before I begin, let me say, Happy Mother’s Day! I am so grateful for all of the wonderful mothers in my life, they do so much for all of us.

For Mother’s Day, I thought I would return the star points of Order of the Eastern Star. Now, you may not think this topic to be terribly mother oriented, but Electa is known as the mother. In fact, all of the star points represent a potential time in a member’s life:

  • Adah- the daughter
  • Ruth – the widow
  • Esther – the wife
  • Martha – the sister
  • Electa – the mother

Her gentle smile and yielding heart

Shall grace our world no more;

She chose the true but bitter part,With never-falling skill,

He treasures up His bright designs,:

And works His gracious will.

Where does Electa come from?

The truth is, Electa does not come from the Bible in the way that the four other heroines of OES do. Electa is the only one that is never named, the name was created for her solely for the purpose of the ritual. I think this is fudging a bit, perhaps there may of been a different heroine that could have been worked into the star points, but, Electa does fit in her own way, so perhaps her name is not as important as we may think it to be. The name Electa was chosen, because 2 John was addressed to “the elder to the elect lady and her children..” Some translators have actually attached the name Kyria to her.

What is her story?

Here again, there may of been some liberties taken. OES references her story being in 2 John, but there’s not much there. Instead, her story is based in Masonic tradition. The story goes, that she was born and raised in Asia Minor, and brought up as a pagan. At some point, she converted to Christianity, probably during the era of St. Paul. Regardless of when and where and how, she would of definitely been a very important and influential woman within her community, this is obvious by her title. She was known for her kindness towards the less fortunate, giving money to the poor, and caring for and sheltering those in need, and filling the bellies of hungry travelers.

As most all of us know, during St.John’s time, Christianity became a nuisance to those who did not follow it, and an edict was put out by the Roman government that was issued against anyone who proclaimed to be a Christian, under penalty of death. The “test” given to people, was that they were given a crucifix and were told to stomp on it, as a showing of a renouncing of any lingering Christian faith. Electa, for she wouldn’t be the heroine of the story otherwise, refused to comply with the edict, and refused to renounce her faith.

Instead of killing her outright, perhaps because she was so well known and loved within the community, the Romans chose instead to throw her and her family into the dungeon for a year. After this time she was brought out, and again offered to renounce her faith. Electa again refused to do so. The Romans didn’t like this so much of course, so they followed through on their threat and killed her. More than that however, they crucified her entire family in front of her, before allowing her to die.

You can read a short analysis of 2 John here.

What does she teach us?

Even though it is an allegorical story, Electa can still teach us many things. Perhaps the strongest here is that principles, not matter what they may be, never die. This woman had the strength to profess her faith to the world, even though she knew that it would get her and her family killed. Even though it meant the loss of everything that she had, wealth, good fortune, family, and even her own life. She was willing, however, to undergo these things in order to stand by her faith. Electa teaches us strength and courage, to stick by what we believe in, no matter how hard it may be, or how alone we may feel. “Endurance of persecution”

More than that though, Electa taught us the simplest lesson that is too often overlooked, “That we love one another.” While this may not seem as emphasized in her story, Electa is called the mother with good reason. She had wealth, and perhaps a position of power, regardless, she was living comfortably. Even still, she brought in anyone who needed assistance, regardless of their social or financial status, and did not worry about how it may change the way that others may see her. This, is truly why she is called the mother, for like our own mothers, she teaches us to love unconditionally. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most difficult lesson of all.