Freemasonry and Benevolence
Benevolence and Charity are basic principles of Freemasonry. Every Mason is expected to maintain an attitude of benevolence toward all mankind and to perform acts of charity for those in need. This distinguishing characteristic of the members is a foundation stone of the fraternity.
In the Middle Ages, each lodge of operative masons, who built the cathedrals, abbeys and castles, maintained a charity chest to help widows and orphans, or members in distress. In addition, they assisted a fellow mason by giving him a day’s work or the means of traveling to the project of a neighboring lodge.
In the same manner, Masonic lodges of today have an account reserved for charitable purposes to which every member is expected to contribute. These funds are used to quietly assist members in need, send remembrances to widows, or special greetings to brethren confined by age or illness. Our lodges extend their benevolent activities by supporting worth-while community projects.
“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet (1773-1855), Quaker Minister and Missionary.