What Is a History of “The Heroines of Jericho”?
Historically awarded to the female family members of the Royal Arch Masons, the Heroines of Jericho enabled women to apply for protection, security and subsistence while living in a patriarchal and misogynistic society. A distaff counterpart to the Knights of Jericho, being named a Heroine of Jericho indicated a woman was sufficiently inculcated in the freemasonry fold and was entitled to aid from their fellow Masons and Companions.
The award derives its name from a biblical heroine known the Woman of Jericho, Rahab, who hid Israelite spies from the soldiers and thus kept her family safe when the walls of Jericho fell. Later she would marry Joshua and is listed as one of Jesus Christ’s ancestors. The Degree of the Heroine has been traced to 1220 A.D., passing from France to England, Germany, Scotland and America. Its implementation is linked to the nobility and the government, evolving to reflect the changing internal structure of the Freemasons. The court of the Heroines of Jericho is meant to inspire women of the Masonry to participate in the Order’s purposes and form a community for women, emphasizing the need to help widows, orphans and female travellers. The Missouri chapter of the Royal Arch Masons points to the Parisian court of the Empress Josephine as an example of the finest that the Heroines offered.