One of Turlock’s original clubs will make a triumphant return to the community after a 20 year absence. The Order of the Eastern Star Club, the largest fraternal organization in the world for both men and women, will be officially institutionalized in a private ceremony on Sunday at the Turlock Masonic Lodge.
OES will be welcoming 13 new members to the chapter, affiliate current members and install the core of officers which will be comprised of a total of 50 active members.
“It’s been a wonderful and challenging process in trying to get all the pieces together,” said OES member Katie Nielsen. “We’ve been gone for almost 20 years and to be back as an official chapter is a rewarding feeling.”
The chapter started officially as the Wisteria Chapter in Turlock on Sept. 24, 1910. The Smyrna Chapter was instituted on Aug. 18, 1923. The two chapters later consolidated in 1993, to become the Ceres chapter.
“As a member of the OES, our main purpose is to help the community through our philanthropic efforts,” said Nielsen. “As members we make mastectomy pillows, lap robes, slippers and hats for cancer patients at cancer patient comfort stations. We also provide scholarships for the youth and help our own members through benevolent funds.”
In order to become a member of the OES, one must either be a Mason or have a Masonic family connection.
“It is a worthwhile organization comprised of sisters working toward a philanthropic cause,” said Nielsen.
Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values but it is not a religion.
“OES gives members a way of life,” said Nielsen. “It gives you an extended family. I’ve been through some real traumas in my life and if it hadn’t been for the OES I don’t know where my life would be.”