North Battleford No. 2 Order of Eastern Star, instituted July 12, 1912, is celebrating a century of presence in the Battlefords.
In recognition of this milestone, the annual provincial gathering, the Grand Chapter of Saskatchewan, will be held at the Western Development Museum April 26 to 28. Approximately 250 people from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and the American states of California, Georgia, Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Missouri will be attending.
Grand Chapter was held here once before, 86 years ago in 1926. Many travelled by train. At that 10th Grand Chapter, members met in the Odd Fellows Hall and a dance was held in the auditorium at Saskatchewan Hospital. In the 96 years of the Grand Chapter history, these are the only two times the annual sessions were not held in Saskatoon , Regina or Moose Jaw.
Worthy Matron Mary Heskett of Saskatoon and Worthy Patron Gerald Busch of Unity have been preparing for the “moment in time” session. For the last year the planning and preparation has been ongoing with members from the local Eastern Star chapters of North Battleford, Unity, Lloydminster, Biggar, Prince Albert, Kindersley and Saskatoon.
Each year the worthy grand matron and patron designate a specific charity for whom funds are raised. This year, Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon was chosen. To date coffee, cooking supplies, bathroom and cleaning supplies and toiletries have been donated.
Ronald McDonald House is expanding due to insufficient space, as 264 families were turned away last year. Full occupancy is 13 families. Of the 661 families who stayed at McDonald House in 2010, 132 families were from Prairie North Health Region.
In previous years, the selected charities have included autism, the Lung Association, CNIB, the Children’s Hospital, dyslexia, diabetes and cancer research, just to name a few. Each year approximately $10,000 is donated in cash or goods.
Local chapters donate not only to local charities like the BUH Foundation, Interval House, the local Shrine Patient Travel Fund and cancer society, but also to other recognized national and international organizations like the Shriners’ Hospital for Crippled Children, Knights Templar Eye Foundation and arthritis fund.
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world for men and women. Only men, who are Masons are eligible and only women with specific Masonic affiliation may be members.