MW Bro Lindsay Descombes,
Grand Master of Mauritius;
the new Grand Master takes
his Obligation in front of MW
Bro Jean-Charles Follner,
Grand Master, Grande Loge
On 12 March 2005, the 37th anniversary of
National Independence Day, the first Grand
Lodge of Mauritius was consecrated and
RW Brother Lindsay Descombes was
installed as Grand Master. MW Brother
Jean-Charles Foellner, Grand Master of the
Grande Loge Nationale Française, carried out
the Installation. This was the pinnacle of the
island’s distinguished history of Freemasonry
stretching back more than 200 years.
The week of celebration that followed
in the presence of Grand Masters and
delegations from four continents, laid the
foundation of what is set to be an outwardlooking
fraternity whilst observing the true
traditions of the Craft.
At present, the seven Lodges previously
under the banner of the Grande Loge
Nationale Française have been transferred
to the new Grand Lodge of Mauritius and
consequently re-numbered 01 to 07.
The Grand Lodge has defined its Vision,
its Mission Statement and its Objectives.
The Action Plan’s first priority has been
to seek recognition from, and exchange
Lodge Representatives with, Grand Lodges
in friendly countries. To date some 50
countries have been contacted and
recognition received from a dozen.
As a Freemason born in Mauritius, but
who has resided in England for the past 45
years, I was delighted and astounded to be
made an Honorary Founder Member and
a Very Worshipful Brother as Past Grand
Deacon. This was in recognition of my
recently published historical book,
Freemasonry in Mauritius – A Chronological
Compilation of Lodges 1778 – 2004, the only
complete account of the Craft on the island.
Although when I started my research I had
no idea that the formation of a Grand Lodge
was under discussion, the book’s publication
fortuitously coincided with the consecration.
However, it was six months later, in
September 2005, that I was at last able to
attend my first Lodge meeting in Mauritius.
I was invited to Lodge Louis Auguste
Ormières No.1 and to Friendship Royal
Arch Chapter No. 160. This is the only
Chapter on the island and is on the Roll
of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter
At Lodge No.1 they performed a third
degree, and I found that it is often customary
in Mauritian Lodges for visitors to be
announced and admitted well after the
minutes of the previous meeting have
been read and approved.
The Rite Emulation was the order of
the day and it was a pleasure to hear the
ceremony in French. Furthermore, I was
astonished to find out that it was exactly the
way we do it in England, virtually a literal
translation. Being bilingual I felt I could
easily have stood in for one of the officers.
For the Chapter Installation, the whole
procedure was new to me. It was the first
time I had witnessed a Scottish Ritual.
The Friendship Royal Arch Chapter No.
160 was Chartered on 16 June 1875 and
inaugurated in 1879. It became dormant
between 1896 and 1918. Amongst the
Founder Members and those on the Roll
of First Principals were many well-known
local Brethren, including early British
administrators on the island.
I will forever remember and be most
grateful for the warmth and friendship
I received on both occasions, and the Festive
Board was exceptional. At the end of the
meeting a table full of gajacks (Mauritian
for tit bits e.g., chilli cakes, samoussas, etc)
and drinks greet you, then follows a threecourse
meal including wine, all for £6!