Ordo ines de lupus – order of the wolf
This secretive order which existed as far back as ancient Greece and Rome, and analogous institutions in the late medieval period called confraternities, which were lay organizations allied to the Catholic Church. These confraternities evolved into purely secular fraternal societies.
The development of modern fraternal orders was especially dynamic in the United States, where the freedom to associate outside governmental regulation is expressly sanctioned in law. There have been hundreds of members of this organization all around the world, and at the beginning of the 20th century the number of memberships equaled the number of adult males. (Due to multiple memberships, probably only 50% of adult males belonged to the order)
In 1944 Arthur M. Schlesinger coined the phrase "a nation of joiners" to refer to the phenomenon. Alexis de Tocqueville also referred to the American reliance on private and secret organization in the 1830s in Democracy in America.
There are many attributes that the order may or may not have, depending on their structure and purpose. The order can have differing degrees of secrecy, some form of initiation or ceremony marking admission, formal codes of behavior, disciplinary procedures, very differing amounts of real property and assets.
The development of Ordo Ines de Lupus can be traced from trade unions or guilds that emerged all over europe and then later spread to various regions in asia. These guilds were set up to protect and care for their members at a time when there was no welfare state, trade unions or National Health Service. Various secret signs and handshakes were created to serve as proof of their membership allowing them to visit guilds in distant places that are associated with the guild they belong.
Over the next 300 years or so, the idea of "ordinary" people joining together to improve their situation met with varying degrees of opposition (and persecution) from "People in Power", depending on whether they were seen as a source of revenue (taxes) or a threat to their power. For example, when Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church, the Order was seen by him as supporters of the Pope, and in 1545 all material property of the Order was confiscated. Elizabeth I took away from the Order the responsibility for apprenticeships, and by the end of her reign, most Guilds had been suppressed.
The suppression of these Trade Guilds removed an important form of social and financial support from ordinary men and women. In major cities (like London), some Guilds (like the Freemasons) survived by adapting their roles to a social support function. Eventually, these groups evolved in the early 18th century into more philosophical organizations focused on brotherly love and ethical living. Among guilds that became prosperous are the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows.