Women have never been initiated into a regular Masonic Lodge under ordinary circumstances. At least one case of extraordinary circumstances has taken place, however, in Ireland in the early 1700s, in the days before the Grand Lodge system, and before Lodges built their own halls. According to the story, a young woman of the local ascendency, the Honourable Miss Elizabeth St. Leger, fell asleep in a side room adjoining a private library room in her house. Her father had opened a properly warranted Lodge that evening in the library for the purposes of passing a candidate to the Second Degree, without being aware of his daughter's presence in the side room, and Miss Elizabeth woke some time later to find the business of the Lodge going on. She was discovered by the Tiler while trying to slip quietly away through the only exit, the door out of the library. Wishing to maintain the secrecy of their proceedings, the Brethren voted, and chose to initiate Miss Elizabeth. She apparently proceeded through the various degrees of Craft membership, and eventually came to lead her Lodge. Though she would not be accepted today, most Masonic historians tend to acknowledge her status as "the woman Mason" in the recorded history of the Craft.
Women of today who wish to become involved in Masonry, and are closely related to Masons, may join the Order of the Eastern Star, an organization created both for female relations of Masons, and Masons themselves. The Order is not as ancient as Freemasonry is believed to be, but it has no less honorable a history. Founded in 1855 by Dr. Rob Morris, it went through several incarnations before settling in the organizational format of Chapters used today. Chapters meet in a Lodge hall with which they are affiliated; membership is open to Masons as well, and both sexes share the duties of governing the Chapter. Business of the Chapter is completely separate from that of the Lodge, and is governed at the next level by a Grand Chapter on a state-by-state basis. The Grand Chapters report, in their turn, to the General Grand Chapter in Washington, D.C. The Eastern Star shares the same goals as their Masonic brethren, as well as serving as a sort of auxiliary to the Brethren in many of their activities.
The Eastern Star is represented in the Brent-Centreville area by Friendship Chapter No. 131, which meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. Further information may be had from the Chapter Secretary, Sister Nellie Peak, by correspondence to her at 28 Court Square East, Centreville AL 35042.