COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM - Masonic Lodge of Research

By: R∴W∴Peter Iacobucci, Chancellor

The COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM lodge of research held its   1st Annual Communication on Monday, March 30, 2015 at Manchester Lodge No. 12, Coventry, RI.  This was an historical evening as the COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM was scheduled to receive is charter.  

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Thank You - and Reflection on the Year

By: M∴W∴Wyman P. Hallstrom, III, PGM

One year ago I stood before Grand Lodge with a vision that I hoped would move the Craft slowly toward a new way of looking at things. Over the course of the year, I presented those ideas, on investigation, on communications, on lodge programming, and of course, on the initiatic experience as a whole, as a way to better engage our existing and new members. Those topics, I believe will continue to be talked about, not just in this jurisdiction, but in most corners of Freemasonry for years to come.

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MW Raymond Eric Hassell


Congratulations to our Most Worshipful Grand Master

Br. Raymond E. Hassell

Our 160th Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations


Raymond Eric Hassell was born on November 14, 1946 in Providence Rhode Island, the only child of Eric A. Hassell and Doris V. (Pinkerton) Hassell. He grew up in Riverside and was educated in the East Providence Public School system graduating from East Providence High School in 1964. His continued education included a variety of classes and courses in the automotive field.

Raymond entered the family business of Hassell’s Garage after graduation from High School and worked for his Father until 1980 when he took over the family shop which he still owns and runs it to this day on a semi retired basis with the assistance of his daughter Donna. He is an ASE Certified Master Tech on both cars and trucks, a State Inspector and Emissions Specialist.

On February 26, 1966 Ray Married Lynn Arnold also of Riverside and they have 3 children Barbara, Donna and Tamra and 7 Grandchildren. Ray and Lynn lived in Riverside until 1986 when they moved to East Providence where they still reside.

Ray served in the United States Army in 1967 -1969 including a tour in Viet Nam. He is a member of Hope Congregational Church in East Providence where he has served on various committees including Church Council, Search committee, Moderator and is presently serving on the Board of Deacons.

Masonically , Brother Hassell petitioned St Andrews Lodge #39 in spring of 1983 and took his Entered Apprentice degree in September, Fellowcraft in October and Master Masons degree in November and signed the By Laws at the Annual on November 30, 1983. He served as Master of St Andrews Lodge #39 in 1990, 1999 and 2006. He is also a member of St Johns Lodge #1p, Adelphoi Lodge #33 and Overseas Lodge #40.

Brother Hassell’s Grand Lodge appointments include Grand Pursuivant for MWGM Donald Hopkins in 1991, Grand Master of Ceremonies for DDGM Robert J Allen from 1992 through serving as Grand Marshall in 2002 with MWGM Robert J Allen. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Southern District by Most Worshipful Steven E Smith in 2007. He served in the South, Central, Northern, East Bay and Metro Districts and was elected Junior Grand Warden in 2012, Senior Grand Warden in 2013 and Deputy Grand Master in 2014 and Grand Master Elect in November 2015.

Brother Hassell is a member of Temple Royal Arch Chapter #3 in Warren and served as High Priest in 1988 and 1995. He is also a member of Providence Chapter #1 serving as High Priest in 2003 and 2007. He was appointed to the Grand Chapter line in 1993 and served as Grand High Priest in 1996 and received the Junius C H Schmit Distinguished Service Medal from New Jersey. He served as Ambassador to the General Grand Chapter 2011 through 2014.

In Cryptic masonry he is a member of Webb Council #3 and served as Thrice Illustrious Master in 1990 and 1998. He is also a Member of Providence Council #1 serving as Thrice Illustrious Master in 2002 and 2005. He was appointed to the Grand Council Line in 1997 and Served as the Most Illustrious Grand Master in 2001. He received the General Grand Council Youth Leadership Award and was appointed the North East Regional Deputy for the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International from 2005 to 2007.

He was knighted in Calvary Commandery #13 and served as Commander in 1994-1995. He is also a member of St Johns Commandery #1 and Northampton Commandery #30. He received the Knight Commander of the Temple Award in 2013.

In the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Brother Hassell is a member of the Valley of Providence and served as Thrice Potent Master of Solomon’s Lodge of Perfection in 2006-2007 and Commander-in-Chief of Rhode Island Consistory in 2012. He was Coroneted an Honorary Member Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, 33rd Degree in Grand Rapids Michigan in 2005. He is also member of The Royal Order of Scotland.

He is a member of the Rhode Island Shriners, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and served on the ceremonial degree team for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Legion of Honor and a member of Providence Court #71 Royal Order of Jesters and Moslem Grotto, Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm.

He is a member of Order of the Eastern Star serving as Worthy Patron of Unity Chapter #14 several times before their merger with Martha Washington Chapter #18 in Warren. He has worked many years with the Masonic Youth and served as Dad for Rainbow and on the Executive Committee and also is a Rainbow Girl. Ray has received the Grand Cross of Color from the International Order of Rainbow for Girls and the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

Other Masonic service includes membership in Plantations Conclave #30 Red Cross of Constantine, and served as Puissant Sovereign, membership in Roger Williams Priory #48 Knights of the York Cross of Honor and served as Eminent Prior, membership in What Cheer York Rite College serving as Governor in 1999, appointed as Grand Governor for Rhode Island and Elected a Regent of York Rite Sovereign College of North America in Tampa Florida 2013. He is also a member of Colonial Council Knight Masons and served as Excellent Chief, Renaissance Council # 429 Allied Masonic Degrees and served as Sovereign Master, Damascus Tabernacle #26 Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and has served as Preceptor. He is also a Member in Narragansett Bay Chapter #14 National Sojourners, Massasoit Forest #91 Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Gaspee Order #99 Swords of Bunker Hill, International Police Square Club, Royal Ark Mariners, Grand College of Rites of the United States of America and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations College Societas Rosicruciana.





The Marquis and Major-General

By: R∴W∴David Lavery, Grand Historian

Marquis de LafayetteWhen last I wrote of Marie-Paul-Joseph-Roch-Yves-Gilbert-Motier de Lafayette, he was escaping the trappings of a court life to which he did not fit and a change in climate for the noble born military officer with little prospect of work. Still a tender 19 years old when he left the country of his birth to eventually become “the Hero of Two Worlds, the Apostle of Liberty”. I have yet to answer: What characteristic made Lafayette so special? We have many, many lodges named Lafayette, and not named for the other important men who fought for the glorious cause. What are the reasons for this? What were Lafayette's real contributions to the American cause? Was there an impact in America from his membership? I apologize, for I will continue on with the story, but resist answering these questions for the moment.

The Comte de Broglie and his plans to usurp Washington were still affecting the fate of Lafayette, through his affiliation with Johann de Kalb. Silas Deane, as the “secret envoy” from the Continental Congress to France was no secret to the Paris outside of the court. Deane was supposed to be working with the court to obtain four military engineers, clothing, arms, ammunition, and field pieces. Thanks to the plans of de Broglie, his agent de Kalb was having many French military officers visit Deane to offer their services. It was almost a secret army inundating an unsuspecting ally with the purpose of taking over the fight. At first Deane was enthusiastic, but the onslaught of soirees and influence wore upon him. Deane began to supply papers recommending these officers to the Continental Army and the French King appeared have no issues with these officers setting sail, and many did so. Lafayette and his young friends made a pact to do so themselves, but trouble brewed with his father-in-law, who tried to stop him. Lafayette continued pressing Deane for a commission as a high ranking officer, claiming that his passion and zeal were matched by his ability to generate publicity and the fact he was able to finance himself completely. Deane also found that Lafayette's family connections to the court would be extremely valuable to the American cause. [1] Like with de Broglie, the Americans sought after the Marquis for his implications over his inexperience. Lafayette wound up having to purchase a ship and escape from the crown after a series of problems sparked by those same connections being too much for the king to openly back the American cause at this point. With his extremely expensive new ship “La Victoire” - “Victory”, he eventually made his way to the new world with appointment by Deane “in the name of the very honorable Congress the Rank of Major General.” While leaping from Captain to Major-General, he would not bound across the ocean, but drag along what Lafayette thought of as a sad sea for eight long weeks and land fifty miles northeast of their intended landing at Charleston. To make matters worse, they landed late in the evening with out anyone to greet them that spoke French, and wound up running into two slaves who just brought the Frenchmen to their unsuspecting master. The wary crew does make it to Charleston, where we find Lafayette's letters to his wife to espouse how wonderful the town was and how nice the people were. This was at a time when there was known hostility to all the arriving French officers, many of whom did not speak French, were rude, and mercenary in their behavior. Their travel from the ship had been extremely poor as well, as their carts turned to splinters, some of their bags stolen, and the heat and environment with no food leading to starvation and dysentery. What may have set the Marquis on the right course was Masonry. There are several legends, which I have been unable to verify, that Marquis and his close friends from the ship wind up finding some Freemasons in Charleston. What is confirmed is the odd connection that will come much later from the house of the man they stay with originally, Major Benjamin Huger. His three year old son will one day attempt a rescue of the Marquis from an Austrian controlled prison, in what is today part of the Czech Republic.

For all of these adventures upon the Marquis' path, he and his comrades did not expect the cool reception they received upon finally arriving at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. General Washington, already receiving French troops and wary of language barriers and the suspected plot of de Broglie, had sent letters to congress about his desires to not have further officers. Some of the men who arrived were known to be involved with de Broglie, especially de Kalb, and the others considered guilty by association. Additionally, Silas Deane had sent Major-General Philippe Charles Tronson du Coudray as engineer and also given in to his exorbitant demands, making him the head of all America's engineers and artillery. Coudray made things worse by demanding huge sums of money, prestige, and with haughty behavior ensured all other Frenchman were eyed warily. The remaining engineers that Deane sent were also unsatisfactory, which Benjamin Franklin eventually had to resolve.[1] The Americans were concerned with Coudray's claims of influence in the French government, which turned out to be somewhat spurious. With these issues at hand, Lafayette and company arrive unbidden to Congress. The Frenchmen were deflected a few times before being examined further by representatives of Congress. Lafayette's protests were done well enough to convince the interviewing congressman that his service without pay was of value. Congress actually passed a resolution confirming the Marquis as Major-General, and in an unusual manner specifying his service was “accepted” as “volunteer”...”without pension or allowance”.[2] He had no command and was a volunteer at his own expense. He dutifully brought in a few others as aides-de-camp. Most of the men who came on La Victoire returned to France, although de Kalb and others would join Lafayette under the same aspect of volunteer eventually. He was able to influence men with his zeal for the cause of liberty and his optimism. Congress also noted this in their resolution, where few resolutions for military appointments ever made such comment. The author David Clary, in his book Adopted Son, makes the claim that what occurred with Congress was an error in communication. Mr. Clary maintains that while Congress said “Volunteer”, Lafayette heard “volontaire”, “which in the French army mean a young noble attached to a general officer as a military apprentice, who performed the duties of an aide-de-camp. He had no official position until he moved on to a staff assignment – or a line command.” [2]

This was a highly irregular idea for a Major-General to be such staff officer and rise to command, but it may have suited the Marquis to believe it to be the case in the Continental Army. Lafayette's zeal and optimism may have allowed him to blind himself to such duplicities in order to achieve his goals. This ability is often a characteristic of successful people. He was willing to fight for the glorious cause of American Liberty and in so doing he hoped to bring honor to himself. Congressmen, such as Henry Laurens, also noted these things in their letters of the time. A perfect opportunity to have a French noble achieve dignity on the field in a “short season” and return to France as a powerful ally in the French court. There was little consideration for the feelings of those other officers in the army at such appointments, nor consideration for Washington and what he should do with the Marquis. General Washington expresses confusion and bewilderment over just what to do with the Marquis and what exactly Congress had intended. Although Lafayette had a hope for glory in the United States, and although he was officially a Major-General in the Continental Army, he would have to wait for fate and opportunity for a chance to command. What few saw at this point was how vulnerable he could be to the plotting of others. Where de Broglie had sought to use the Marquis as a foreign take over of the army, domestic forces began to consider using him in like manner for their own mutinous designs.

Works Cited:

1. Auricchio, Laura, The Marquis: Lafayette reconsidered (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014)

2. Clary, David, Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved The Revolution (Bantam Books, 2007)