EXCLUSIVE | Interview with the first (woman) Grand Master in the history of the Republic of Uruguay, Alicia TOYOS

Thursday 30 April 2015

This interview has an exclusive character, being part of the Exclusive Collection of Interviews of the Masonic Press Agency. The printable format of the interview (for Grand Lodges only) will be available at the end of this week and will include information about Alicia TOYOS. The republication (total and/or partial publication) of this interview is strictly prohibited.

Freemasonry has always been a Brotherhood of free and good-standing men. The emergence of the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in 1717 marked the birth of the Speculative Freemasonry in its institutional form as we know it today. Two centuries later England hosted the first Women's Grand Lodge in the world.

Today, in the 21st century, the Woman Freemason and Women's Grand Lodges in Europe and Latin America enjoy development and represent a reality of Universal Freemasonry, even if the moment has not come for the Grand Lodges of tradition (male Grand Lodges), to recognize them. Despite this reality, there are regular Grand Lodges which admit the existence Women's Grand Lodges in their jurisdiction and, in some cases, work with them in the philanthropic, social and cultural sector.

For the first time in the history of the Masonic Press Agency a woman, a woman Freemason, the first (woman) Grand Master of the first Women's Grand Lodge in the history of the Republic of Uruguay, Alicia TOYOS (Immediate Past Grand Master, Serene Grand Master of Honour ad vitam) was interviewed. This interview is part of the Exclusive Collection of Interviews of the Masonic Press Agency.

Most Worshipful Sister, why Feminine Freemasonry and not Mixed (Co-Masonry)?

Before 2004, in Uruguay there were male and mixed Lodges. Detecting the desire of many women to work exclusively with other women, a great Freemason and I started working on the formation of Feminine Lodges.

Who is the main leader of Feminine Freemasonry in Latin America?

I do not think there is a leader in Latin America. Each Grand Master, in a certain moment, is the leader of her jurisdiction.

Do the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile offer Light to the Feminine Grand Lodges in Latin America?

No, the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile conferred regularly in Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Panama. Other Latin American countries have received Light from other Obediences.

In 2012, the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay celebrated five years of existence and this year celebrates 8 years. How many Feminine Lodges there are and how many Women Freemasons has the FGLU?

In April 2015 takes place the kindle of Light of Acacia Lodge #15. Overall we have 500 Sisters.

Which is the procedure for founding a regular Feminine Grand Lodge Feminine?

The steps taken by us were, first, to approach the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile, which already conferred regularly in Bolivia and Argentina and, shortly, already had international fame and after that it was founded in 2004 the first Feminine Lodge in Uruguay. In 2006 it was founded the second and the third in 2007, giving us the right to receive a Constituent Charter for our Grand Lodge.

What is the difference between a regular and irregular Feminine Grand Lodge?

The difference, in almost all cases, lies in its origin. Many Obediences are formed due to dispute between Sisters and dissidences form another Grand Lodge without following the steps of regularity, and this leads to an abundance of Obediences thus created.

Other cases are those in which they do not comply with the precepts that traditionally define Freemasonry.

What is the relationship between the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay and the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry of Uruguay?

And how does this bilateral relationship manifests? The relationship between the two mentioned Obediences is one of respect, cordiality outside the Temple and joint social work.

We know that now you are working in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Who gives you these high grades?

Just as Chile has given us regularity, in the same spirit, France, thanks to many trips made to Paris, gives us the High Degrees.

What is the relationship between the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay and Feminine Grand Lodges of England and France?

Regarding the Feminine Grand Lodge of England, we have relationships with our Sisters in Scotland that we met on our trip to Rosslyn Chapel in 2012.

With the Feminine Grand Lodge of France we have a strong relationship. We signed a Treaty of Amity and Mutual Recognition, we received twice the visit of Grand Master Catherine Jeannine-Naltet and we visited five times the Feminine Grand Lodge of France.

When can we speak of a Feminine Supreme Council in Uruguay?

In 2016, the Sisters of Feminine Supreme Council of France will come to Uruguay to found the first Lodge of Perfection and after the group of Masters strengthens they will come again to establish the Feminine Supreme Council of Uruguay.


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