Brief historical review:
By: Lic. María Elena Reyes Ávila
The tendency to achieve a greater number of liberties for women is very old and our country has never been oblivious to this problem with such deep social roots. In all the civic processes, in all the superior efforts and liberators, the woman has been and will be present. The presence of women has been and is a decisive factor in more than one concern and in the achievement of more than one citizen aspiration.
Freemasonry concerned to consider that the family and home are the fundamental foundations of all Society, has granted a special role to women and the passage of civilizations has led the idea of ??holding it in Para-Masonic entities next to Freemasons .
However, the Ancient Limits of Freemasonry, fundamental bases of its principles and postulates, in concrete and strict form, by declaring that the Mason will have to be male and adult, prohibiting at all, that a woman may be present at the initiation , closed its doors to it in cooperation to the noble and generous principles of the Universal Fraternity, guidelines that remain to this day. Over the years and centuries there were some attempts by female institutions to inter-relate with Freemasonry, but they did not achieve the goal.
It was the 1930s when the I.: H .: Gabriel García Galán, long and brilliant Masonic career, dreamed of incorporating women into the Masonic work of man and once convinced of the value of his idea fought tirelessly until turning it into reality, as a result of its overflowing spirituality, Gabriel García Galán saw in the woman a symbol of ineffable greatness, saw in it something that made her deserving of incorporating it without interference, to the philanthropic work within the traditionalist Institution.
It was not easy to convince everyone of the importance of his thesis, but overcoming conflicting ideologies and setting aside fears he managed to convey to others that conviction of his on the incalculable value of all feminine work as magnificent support to complete the work of man. After meditating and deep study in fair interpretation of the principles of Freemasonry and respecting without touching the Old Limits, he prepared a well-studied motion on his project: create a Paramasonic Institution, constituted exclusively by women and totally autonomous, based on the precious postulates of Universal Masonry, but with its own regulations and liturgies. And after studying it a lot, he presented that paper in the Semestral Session of the Grand Lodge of Cuba of A.:L .: and A.:M .: of the year 1936 and the foundation of the proposed association was approved by the freemasons of Cuba .
For his beautiful work, the founder had looked for a symbolic name: “Daughters of the Acacia”. On Sunday, March 21, glorious ephemerides of the birth of the distinguished Mexican Mason, the I.:H .: Benito Juarez, the Benemérito de las Americas, to complete this agreement of the Masonic High Chamber and to found this Association unique in the world in regard to its foundations and purposes. At 5:00 in the afternoon in the “Scottish Cathedral” of the City of Havana and with the consent of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for the Republic of Cuba, the Lodge was born with deep emotion of the Feminine and Freemasons 1 of the Order “Daughters of the Acacia” with a group of 43 women full of enthusiasm and hopes.
Next to the founder the prized figures of his most direct collaborators who lent their support, the M.:R.:G.:M .: Gonzalo García Pedroso, RR.:HH .: Roger Fernández Callejas, Cosme Lino Dou, Miguel Ángel Valdés Valdés, José Gárate Bru, Cesáreo González Naredo, Ricardo Mestre Llano, among many others. They also supported Lodges such as: America, Lazos de Unión, Guaicanamar and others.
Founded the Order “Daughters of the Acacia” in Cuba, their Lodges are exclusively women, at the service of the same ideals of Universal Masonry, but totally independent of the Lodges of men, with different Liturgical rituals, degrees, signs and words of recognition, the same to comply with the tough mandates of the Women’s Association do not admit in their internal work of Lodge, men of any kind or condition, unless it is joint meetings or sessions in “Tenidas Blancas”.
The Order “Daughters of the Acacia” establishes among its requirements:
They will be free women of good morals and correct moral conduct, between 18 and 60 years for their initiation, with economic solvency that allows them to pay their membership dues, social expenses and other contributions without sacrifice of their family.
It will not belong to the Acacism, who does not feel good mother, good wife, good daughter or good sister, because badly she can love her ideals sister, who does not see in the family, the fundamental basis of the life of the people.
Affiliates to the institution will lend their assistance to any company that benefits the education and instruction of others, to combat ignorance source of great evils of humanity.
The Daughters of the Acacia stand out in the practice of the virtues and polish the personalities to avoid low passions, such as hatred, envy, misunderstandings, vices, etc., transiting the path of love and practicing selfless charity with the goal of achieving peace and love among all human beings. Hence the triptych that carries in its emblem of: Peace, Love and Charity, in addition The Daughters of the Acacia make their own the Universal principles of Freedom, Equality and Fraternity.
In order to avoid discrepancies between sisters, sectarian issues related to politics or religion are not addressed in their sessions.
They are the Daughters of the Acacia demanding to accept the initiation of a profane, they always prefer the human quality, to the quantity, letting them know the commitment they make when they start in this Association, to which they must be willing to give their best and comply with its statutes and regulations.
The Daughters of Acacia emphasize human values, love of the country and respect for the laws of the country where they have a seat.
The seed of the Daughters of the Acacia was sown and its white and perfumed flowers multiplied throughout the country. Lodges were founded in almost all the important localities of Cuba and extended to Central America, where the Lodge “Daughters of the Acacia No. 60” was founded. in Panama, sponsored by the R.:L .: “Rosa de América 1” on July 10, 1952; the Lodge “Daughters of the Acacia No. 65” in Costa Rica sponsored by the R.:L .: “Hermes No. 7” on July 4, l953 and the Lodge “Daughters of the Acacia No. 87” in Guatemala, sponsored by the R.:L .: “Firmness No. 3” on January 6, 1958. At present, new Lodges were founded in San Marcos, Province of Guatemala, a new Lodge in El Salvador.
Six years after the founding of the Order, on March 21, 1943, the Grand Council emerged as the governing body and with it the first Grand Gentile Mentor who was called Piedad Reinhart Núñez and the Great Officials who accompanied her during the period of management of direction and administration. Many valuable women have stood out within the Institution leaving their mark unforgettable, among them head the relationship: Leonor Valdés Barrabí, Cristina Álvarez Pujals, Eloísa Rodríguez Suñer and Josefina Echemendía Sánchez. So far there have been 18 Great Gentile Gentlemen in Cuba, taking into account the current, leaving all their positive contribution.
The Order “Daughters of the Acacia”, as every business in life, has had its ups and downs, went through several critical decades where columns collapsed some Lodges and there was a total distancing with the Lodges abroad; Only 17 active Lodges remained at that time; However, in 1995 a rebirth began in this feminine institution with an increase in initiations of young women, most of whom are professionals whose enthusiasm, together with the experience of the older sisters, gives new strength to the institution.
As a way to increase instruction in 1996, the motion submitted by the Lodge “Hijas de la Acacia No. 25” of Arroyo Naranjo in Havana City was approved to create the Cuban Academy of Advanced Academic Studies “Leonor Valdés Barrabí “, Which was founded on December 27, 1996 and it promotes studies, research and lectures on Symbolism, History, Science, Arts and Jurisprudence. Its first president was R .: H .: Ms. María Elena Reyes Ávila, who, together with the eight founding academics, promoted the first steps and bases of such an important body of instruction and research.
In March of 2001, the R.: H .: Dr. Mirta López Almiral became president of said Academy when the I.: H .: Lic. María Elena Reyes Ávila was chosen as the Great Gentile Mentor of the Academic Institution. . At present, the R.H. Deisy Rodríguez Mancebo.
The Daughters of the Acacia celebrated its 78th Anniversary in its Annual or High Chamber session on March 15, 2015, with representations of all the Acacian Lodges of the country, which was actually celebrated on March 21, 2015, also taking place on the 28th of March in the RL ¨Daughter of Acacia No. 1¨.
The Institution of the Daughters of the Acacia advances with firm steps, doing an intense work for the instruction of its members and for the strengthening of the Lodges: the current Great Gentile Mentor: IH María Elena Reyes Ávila and her Great Officials, in the last 12 years have achieved achievements to reach a total of 34 Lodges in the country, these being still insufficient given the large number of women who would like to be acacistas and in their localities, where there is no Acacian lodge, however the following have been consecrated Acacist Lodges:
The Lodge “Daughters of the Acacia No. 106” sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Honojos de Fe Masónica”, in Sagua la Grande in the province of Villa Clara. Founded Sunday March 24, 2002.
The Lodge ¨Daughter of the Acacia 107¨ in Christ sponsored by the Masonic Lodge ¨Cristo¨, in Santiago de Cuba. Founded on Sunday, September 4, 2005.
The Lodge ¨Daughter of the Acacia 110 in Nueva Paz, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge ¨Resolution¨. Founded on Sunday, November 20, 2005.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia 103 in San Antonio de los Baños, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Luz de Ariguanabo”. Founded on November 25, 2005.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No.5, in Los Palos, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Claiming”. Founded; Sunday December 19, 2009.
The Daughters of the Acacia Lodge No. 17 in Pinar del Río, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Solola Ramos”. Founded: Sunday, January 17, 2010.
Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 3 in Matanzas sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Claiming”. Founded; Sunday, February 7, 2010.
The Daughters of the Acacia Lodge No. 67 in Los Arabos, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Ricardo Byrne”. Founded Sunday, February 21, 2010.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 80 in Jovellanos, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “UniÃ³n y Confianza”. Founded on Sunday, March 7, 2010.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 53 in Santos Suárez, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “José de la Luz y Caballero”. Founded August 6, 2011.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 30 in Jatibonico, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge ¨Hnos. of Hiram¨. Founded Saturday August 13, 2011.
The Daughters of the Acacia Lodge No. 73 in Agramonte, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Agramonte”. Founded on Saturday 1st. October 2011
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 82 in Surgidero de Batabanó, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge ¨Virtud¨. Founded on October 8, 2011.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 111 in Centro Habana, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Two Rivers” located in the Scottish Cathedral. Founded on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
The Daughters of the Acacia Lodge No. 54 in Colón, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Children of the Temple”, on Sunday, April 28, 2013.
The Lodge Daughters of the Acacia No. 76 in Perico, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge “Uritanos”, on Sunday, October 19, 2013.
The Daughters of the Acacia Lodge No. 88 in “La Palma” prov. Pinewood of the river. Sponsored by the Masonic Lodge ¨Martí Herrera¨. Founded on Saturday, August 1, 2015.
Every day many Masonic Lodges initiate proceedings with the Grand Council of the Daughters of the Acacia, to found new “Acacist” Lodges in the temples of those Masonic Lodges. The Daughters of the Acacia carry out a magnificent fraternal work, maintaining the dream of recovering the 95 Affiliates that one day they came to have.