On February 9th the 74th Consistory of the Society of Blue Friars was convened by Grand Abbott, S. Brent Morris, who named Brother Josef Wäges, a member of Plano Lodge, as the 108th Blue Friar.
The Society of Blue Friars was formed in 1932 to recognize the excellence of Masonic authors. It is probably the smallest, and certainly one of the oddest, concordant bodies in Masonry. It has no fixed ritual or ceremonies, no dues or fees, and very few records. The name was chosen, presumably, because “Friar” is related to the French word for “Brother,” and is therefore appropriate for a
Masonic group; but it would also call to mind the monks of the Middle Ages, the ones who wrote most of the books in those days. The society appoints one new Friar a year, who upon the announcement, is required to give a short paper to the audience and fellow Friars.
Brother Wages is the co-author of The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Ritual and Doctrines of the Illuminati (2015), and is a dedicated and careful scholar and researcher. His presentation was on Etienne (Stephen) Morin and an obscure 1764 manuscript of ritual from Santo Domingo, known in some circles as the Baylot Manuscript. Morin was a French dignitary in the Caribbean who was responsible for the early spread of Masonic degrees of the Order of the Royal Secret (later the Rite of Perfection) between 1763 and 1771. These would become the foundation of what we know today as the Scottish Rite. The rough and hard to read Santo Domingo Manuscript comes from the French Masonic archives of Jean Baylot in Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale, and predates the far more famous Francken Manuscript by almost twenty years.
Since 1944 the Society has met once a year (except for 1945), in a session that is open to all Masonic Brethren. The “Consistory” takes place in Washington, D.C., in February, as part of the annual “Masonic Week” event sponsored by the Allied Masonic Degrees. At the annual meeting, the new Friar is proclaimed and is expected to deliver a research paper. In earlier times, the papers were sometimes printed in the Miscellanea of the Allied Masonic Degrees. In recent years they have appeared in The Philalethes magazine.
The Society has a short list of regulations. They tell us that there are three officers. The presiding officer is the Grand Abbot, who retains his office as long as he wishes, or as long as he lives. He appoints the Deputy Grand Abbot (who is his designated successor), and the Secretary-General. The Grand Abbot may receive nominations for new Friars, but the final decision as to who shall be selected rests entirely with him. There are neither dues nor fees. And the regulations can be changed only at the pleasure of the Grand Abbott.
Congratulations to Brother Wages for this honor and recognition of his scholarship and talents!