Ritual, I believe, is the reason I joined my chapter, whether I knew it at the time or not. To me, initiation wasn’t so much of a revelation of secrets, but rather the revelation of things I had always inherently believed and held near and dear to my heart. Finding out all my sisters believed those things too, and so did my founders, reaffirmed the belief that my chapter was home.
Ritual is the foundation that makes up who we are as sorority women, but as much as our founders wanted us to practice ritual in a dark room with candles, they wanted us to live our ritual more. This is why my initiation wasn’t so shocking and surprising to me. My sisters lived out my ritual every single day, from how they acted in the classroom to how they treated each other, to how they behaved on Friday night. My sisters believed in our values, both public and secret, day in and day out. By them consistently living it on a daily basis, it made it that much more important to me as I took those sacred vows that night in April 2011.
Ritual is important to me because it has become an ever-present guiding beacon in my life, and will be for the rest of my years. Ritual is the reason I have stood shoulder to shoulder with women celebrating the 50th anniversary of their initiations, uttering the same words our founders wrote for us. Ritual is the reason I have held crying sisters, and wiped my own tears from laughing with them. Ritual is the reason I have raised my hand in a classroom and been strong enough to offer a counterpoint to an argument. Ritual is the reason I have invested myself in healthy relationships with encouraging, supportive and loving people who genuinely care for my well being. I do all this because it is what my founders have asked of and wished for me. It is what they sought when they dared to dream big enough to create a fraternity for women. My founders wanted the best for me. I am merely living out their legacy.
I truly believe that my sisters and I share a bond deeper than my relationship with most people, simply on the principle of what we share through ritual. The depth of what my founders have created for us was an act of love and sisterhood, one I am privileged to get to experience. As I soon embark on a different sorority journey as an alumna, I am forever grateful of the eternal bonds I have forged, all thanks to four women who took a chance on a winter’s day in Indiana.
Katie Kilday is a senior at Quinnipiac University and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. You can submit your own ritual essay here.