On March 17, 1842, twenty women assembled on the upper floor of what was called “the red brick store” to begin what would become the largest organization for women in the world. Their purpose was to increase in faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need. It became known as the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In March, 2014, more than six million members in areas throughout the world joined in the annual celebration the birthday of the Relief Society. Sisters in the eight branches of the Toledo District on the island of Cebu, Philippines joined together to plan, choreograph, and practice original dances to represent their sisterhood with other countries around the world.
They circled each other with love as they learned the dance steps, as they helped each with costumes, as they sacrificed together to have enough money to pay fares to go to the practices and to the program. Before the program, there was a table where the sisters helped each other with make-up and matching fingernail polish.
Each group presented a dance with graceful hand and body movements. They watched out for each other and helped each other stay in the formations and keep up with the steps. The young adults, mothers, and grandmothers combined together to create beauty and joy for each other and the watchers
They were safe in the sanctuary of the circle of sisterhood.
This great circle of sisters will be a protection for each of you and for your families. The Relief Society might be likened to a refuge—the place of safety and protection—the sanctuary of ancient times. You will be safe within it. It encircles each sister like a protecting wall.
Boyd K. Packer