WORLD UNION OF WOMEN
To our Members:
You have become a member of our Universal Sisterhood, adding your link to the great chain which we are forging about the world, and now you are ready to help to the utmost of your ability to gather up the other links which may lie about you and you ask: "Tell me how to work for my World Union."
Our individual value and responsibility to the sacred cause in which we have enlisted cannot be [overestimated], for ours is in truth a crusade and the idea of consecration enters so deeply into it that our Union might have been called an "Order."
We have engaged to do something indeed out of the ordinary -- to adopt an ideal -- to realize the invisible. Let us take courage, looking beyond our frontiers and keeping a broad view of the future before us -- let us believe in our success and work loyally, having faith in the beautiful Victory which our emblem symbolises so well. Someone must believe before anything can be.
You have helped to create the means of carrying on the crusade and from this moment it belongs to you, depends upon you and needs you. Think then of your World Union as your very own. Love it and meditate upon its possibilities so as to find new ways to forward it, and when you have found them, put them into action in your own way, using your own individual gifts and taking as your watch word: "IS IT BEST FOR THE CAUSE?" You are as valuable and as necessary as any member of the Central Bureau.
Faith then is most important. If in some weary and discouraged moment there should come a doubt of our success do not express it to others, for doubt is a cruel blight. Try to replace it by the thought that only through the courage and action of individual members like yourself, can we succeed, and if we have that, nothing on earth can defeat the triumphant passage of our Victory about the world. If we have only a thousand women inspired with this firm conviction and working truly in the spirit of the [organization], we have the force sufficient to transform the world. Therefore, courage and faith, loyalty and work, and the greatest victory shall be ours. [page 2]
We have pledged ourselves to work for a permanent, just peace and one of the first things that we must do is turn our attention to what may at first seem dry and difficult, but which now is of utmost importance, -- the study of the different programs offered as a means of obtaining and a basis of maintaining such a peace. Let us attend lectures, read books and pamphlets which treat of these subjects. -- Arbitration, Rights of the people, International courts, etc., etc.
We must know what we want, why and how to get it intelligently. From time to time the Central Bureau will either issue or approve of different articles and treatises which will simplify these questions for us. It will also present the work of other movements and mesages from men and women of other countries. Thus will we forward the "unity of thought throughout the world." We ask you to give attention to all printed matter which bears our emblem. We women have now an important role to fill and we must fill it intelligently.
In regard to our special mission of bringing to light heart-lifting proofs of human nobility and fraternal love, even between antagonists, a journalist of Geneva said recently:
"One is horrified to see that truth has so much difficulty to reach the light. Right will never reestablish itself except upon the foundations of truth. Before this [persistence] of error in every domain, how can it be reenthroned in our consciences? How can we make it triumphant? It will not be by force. It will not be by reasoning, nor above all by the ferocious and unnecessary propositions which are made at every chimney corner. The cause of Right will triumph less by the currents of popular opinion than by individual action. All light that must lighten these shadows must spring from the human heart. It is the simple women, bent above their sorrow, all their sorrows, who are nearer to the truth."
Let us then, the simple women, seek out the truth and help it to multiply itself -- a great purifying force in the world! We hope that it may be possible for us to publish at home and abroad such facts as hold in themselves that something which tends to suppress bitterness, uplift faith, hope and courage. We are soaked in horrors. Each time that they are discussed they are unconsciously exaggerated and leave us with a poisoned mind, while one authentic fact that makes the heart leap with joy has unbounded power for good. We listen and glow with courage and a new force, and cry out: "Oh! I wish every woman in the world could hear that!"
The World Union can create this counteracting force and realize this wish to throw the light of hope in among the darkness that surrounds us. Therefore when you hear or read something particularly inspiring and which you know is authentic, try to send it to us. If it should not appear [immediately], it will not mean that it is lost, for someday it will help to form a book of GOLDEN DEEDS brought to light by our members.
It is hardly necessary to insist more upon the importance of not unnecessarily repeating things which breed bitterness. We all know how easily evil exaggerates [page 3] itself in its favorite atmosphere of gossip. The best of us find ourselves inadvertently adding to stories until with frequent repetition they often become unrecognizable.
Your part in the third engagement depends largely upon your position in life. You may be a person of wide influence with a large circle of friends at home and abroad, or you may be a stranger with but few acquaintances, but in any event you will know people whom you and you alone can reach. Whether they be many or few, interest them in the crusade into which we have entered. You can either ask for booklets and printed matter to send them yourself, or you may send their names to the Central Bureau, but in all cases we should like it very much if you would undertake to write a personal note to these friends so as to insure their attention, and your influence. (N.B. Always indicate the language desired.)
You may be a teacher -- if so what a splendid field you have! You may be a social worker or a club woman or a lecturer, and then one does not have to point out the way. You can [organize] meetings or get your club to do so, becoming a strong and effective [center] of the World Union of Women. You may be a domestic or factory worker, a trained nurse, or engaged in a shop or business office, in which case you have a large field among your colleagues. You may know missionaries in China, Turkey, Africa, Japan, etc. Think how far you can sow the seed and prepare the ground!
You may be none of these and yet there is work for you to do about you, in your home, among your family and friends. Use all of your connection with the great and the humble. Draw all hearts, whose lives touch yours, into active sympathy with our work and help us to reach all circles of women everywhere. Do it in your own way but remember that we cannot succeed without you.
You may become an enrolling member of your World Union, which puts you immediately into active participation in the crusade. Write to us of this desire, giving as reference the name of another member already enrolled on our books, we will send you a sheet containing places for twenty names, and full directions. We are glad to have our members take up this responsibility, for one loves what one has worked for and created.
We ask you to wear your badge, which is a very precious means of spreading the work and bringing it to people's notice. It is more than a badge, -- it is a symbol of our ideal -- and in explaining it you will be explaining what we are doing. Always look for this emblem in newspapers, on pamphlets, everywhere, for we must depend upon it to convey messages to our members, whom otherwise we could not reach.
You will find attached to your card of membership a perforated part requesting you to send us information about yourself, your work and your specialist interests, which if you feel so inclined, we shall appreciate your filling out and mailing to us. We ask this because we want our records to be as complete and personal as possible, -- something more than a list of names. We have the hope that we may be of real service, by putting congenial women in different parts of the world in direct communication with each other. [page 4]
(N.B. We should appreciate it, if in all communications with the Central Bureau, you will mention the number which appears on your card of membership. This is a help to us in keeping our records and making quick references.)
While your name has been entered as a life member of the World Union of Women, it is understood that you are free to resign should there come a moment in the future when you feel that you can no longer be true to its principles nor to the engagements in which you have signed.
One last word in regard to the basic principle of our Union. We have founded it upon the [deep-rooted] compassion which exists in all women's hearts, and which our sex can claim as its distinguishing quality. This Compassion let us try to manifest justly in rational thought and act and express whenever the occasion permits by timely words and acts of aid and encouragement to our sister members [everywhere] and of every nationality and station in life. We have spoken of forging a chain of women's hands about the world, from country to country and across the seas from continent to continent. Let us hold tightly these hands in ours (refuting the time worn accusation that women can never be united) and let us send along this chain, a current of love and helpfulness that shall weld us indeed into a true United Womanhood!
THE WORLD UNION OF WOMEN: CENTRAL INTERNATIONAL OFFICE
PASSAGE DES LIONS
6 Rue du Rhone, 6
17, Boulevard Helvétique, 17 [stamped]