THE MEANING OF RITUAL
The following post was written in collaboration by Donna Diggs, Alpha Upsilon–Central Michigan University, Jessica Padovano, Alpha Omega–Duquesne University, Cassidy Trautman, Zeta Gamma–Gannon University, Elizabeth Gannon, Theta Iota–Western Kentucky University and Mary-Ruth Woolridge, Theta Psi–Austin Peay State University.
The Alpha Gamma Delta Ritual is special and means something different to each of her members. The Founders wrote the Ritual over 100 years ago and yet both collegiate and alumnae members still find connection and solace in the Ritual each day. In honor of Ritual Celebration Week, five collegiate Directors of Ritual shared what Ritual means to them and their chapter.
“As the Director of Ritual, I’ve learned Ritual has a place in our everyday lives. The core of our Ritual is reflected in the Purpose we recite each week. When we strive to live up to the Purpose, we are living our Ritual. Our purpose is so much more than words we memorize, it is a way to connect with sisters—both past and present—and reflect on our actions and choices.
I asked members in my chapter what Ritual meant to them and was provided with this, ‘Ritual brings together our whole chapter and allows us to revisit our most important values daily. I live by reflecting and studying the perfection of my friendships. Being part of a sisterhood is exactly that and I love what it brings to my life.’ Our Ritual connects each member and I find this awe-inspiring and it makes me proud to be a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.” Donna Diggs, Alpha Upsilon–Central Michigan University
“The Alpha Gamma Delta Ritual is extremely important to our chapter as it unites us in sisterhood. It is a reminder of the strong women who built this Fraternity and sets us apart as purposeful women. When our chapter conducts Opening Ritual or participates in Initiation, it allows us to take a moment out of our busy lives and pause and reflect upon the values we strive to uphold.
I often think about the power behind the Ritual. No matter the chapter you join or the places you end up, the Ritual is what connects us all as Alpha Gams. I have found—during this unique time of managing life—it is even more important to hold tightly to the values of the Ritual and Fraternity that stand strong and faithful today.” Jessica Padovano, Alpha Omega–Duquesne University
“Ritual has become increasingly important to our chapter. The pandemic regulations and restrictions have limited our options for seeing our sisters. Participating in Ritual is the common thread. It is a reminder that we are all in this together and will be there for each other no matter the circumstances.
Moreover, as a chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta at a smaller school, Ritual reminds us we are part of a large network of women who share the same values. We are proud to represent the qualities of Alpha Gam on our campus.” Cassidy Trautman, Zeta Gamma–Gannon University
“Humans are ritualistic creatures. Every day we get up, go to our workplaces, come home and go to bed. Rituals allow us to have a sort of convenience in our lives—because we know what to expect. In our chapter, the Ritual binds our sisterhood together.
Ritual connects us to our sisters. Few other activities replicate the feelings of belonging and acceptance more than doing our Ritual. I feel the Ritual puts both myself and my sisters in the right mindset and brings us closer as a sisterhood.” Elizabeth Gannon, Theta Iota–Western Kentucky University
“My personal development has been influenced by our Ritual and through it I have grown as a woman. The meaning behind our letters, symbols and colors helps me feel a sense of belonging. The Purpose continues to guide me to be the young woman I aspire to be.
There were many times throughout my journey when I felt alone and disconnected. The Alpha Gamma Delta Ritual was my anchor when I felt afloat. It is the one thing that remains constant. To any of my sisters who feel or have felt unsettled, look toward our Ritual. It will provide you with comfort, guide you through opportunities and development and will always give you a home to return to.” Mary-Ruth Woolridge, Theta Psi–Austin Peay State University