A Resurgence in the Forsaken Art of Feminine Hospitality

In an attempt to justify laziness with common causality, modern society has deviated from a place of order and ordinary decency to an uninterrupted abuse of noise, isolation, and immoral behaviors in the name of mercenary realism. Society once viewed decency standards, both moral and societal, essential to the continuous flow for an upright and structured civilization. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the standards of common decency changed (drastically decreased) as technological innovations raced to the forefront and left cultural customs to be dragged through the dust. Though many good inventions resulted from the Industrial Age and have been developed to continue for an increase in productivity, yet, along with these innovations society has continued to retreat into a self-centered shell. It has now hit a point at which many people cannot handle basic social nuisances that were once an intricate and important aspect of everyday life. In an age of uncontrolled technological developments, the art of common decency, charitable hospitality, and social customs are digressing into the lost pages of ignored historical practices. Or are they? Though it is quite evident that many traditional customs from previous generations are currently disregarded, there is hope as a resurgence as transgressed through women who see past the lies of the feminist agenda and desire to learn the art of feminine hospitality.

To recognize the lack of common decency in modern society, it is important to reflect upon the art of hospitality. There is a sense today that hospitality requires a perfectly manicured home with an endless supply of craft projects for the children, a four-course meal for the adults, and the perfect preset to filter the photos for social media. As all of this sounds enchantingly unrealistic and most definitely a scene from the internet, it is not the reality of life, it is not the reality of true friendship, and it is not the reality of genuine hospitality.

There is most definitely a time and place to provide an elaborate dinner party for twelve guests, but in the everyday circumstances of life – that is not necessary and should not be the standard. Hospitality is the essence of providing a genuine reception to one’s guests. This could be in the simplicity of a cup of coffee with a neighbor or a picnic lunch with friends in the backyard while picking strawberries from the garden. My grandmother always said, “I begin each day expecting guests.” Yes, the world is not the same as two generations ago. The norms of the 21st century include neighbors who barely know each other and friends that find it difficult to squeeze in coffee dates with busy schedules, but should standards be lowered to such an extent that more satisfaction is found in adhering to a sports schedule rather than to the art of hospitality? I should hope that is not the case.

Along with the Industrial Revolution and socialist ideologies, women have been pushed into a world that lacks peace and joy for their God-given gifts. Socialist ideologies presented women with the disenchanting “have it all” philosophy that disillusioned generations of young girls to believe that their gifts were only effective in a workplace. (I am not disregarding the hard work of many women in the workplace and find great examples from among those businesswomen.) However, modern society has made it clear that women who stay home, raise their children, and desire to make the house into a home are not fulfilling their potential. This modern construct is wrong on every level and has created a severe fissure between women who choose to work outside of the home and those who work within the home. I understand many women would desire to stay home and they cannot do so because of financial difficulties. I am also aware that many women prefer to work outside of the home and that is their choice. These are not points in my argument, rather, it is my desire to discuss that modern society has lowered its standards of hospitality because women (who are naturally more inclined towards friendships and hostess tendencies) no longer have the time or desire to provide such an endeavor due to work constraints. And that the women who choose to stay home are often disregarded and looked upon as failures, rather than successes.

It would be amiss to discredit so many women, whether working outside the home or inside the home, who fruitfully provide these social connections with neighbors, friends, and families. The influence of women is astounding and quite evident throughout history as some of the great men recognized a woman’s influence for their success. As Venerable Fulton Sheen wrote, “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” One can find it easy to dwell upon the digression of modern hospitality, yet that is not a productive recourse for future generations.

It is undeniable that God provided women with a hospitable nature inclined towards beauty and service. Though these proclivities are present, they must also be matured and developed. The art of hospitality is just that – an art. It takes practice to develop a feminine austerity towards charitable hospitality. It is through beauty and high standards that souls raise themselves higher, ultimately, towards God’s beauty and truth. Women are not stagnant creatures, as God created them with a desire towards both spiritual and physical growth (like men, but with distinctions). There is quite a uniqueness between men and women in the sense that women desire to love others through service and it is through the heart of a woman that societal chaos can be harmonized.

Over the past several years, there has been a resurgence towards homemaking and homesteading, especially among women, with a longing to learn the old and traditional ways of simple living. It has expanded beyond any specific group or denomination but has reached a secular level. It’s difficult to say if this growing desire to plant gardens, raise livestock, cook from scratch, or create homespun clothing comes from the upheavals resulting from 2020, or that it is something deeper. There is no doubt that the recent events have shifted society both in the direction of chaos and harmony. The entire situation is quite ironic as the secular socialist society continues to sink deeper into immoral chaos, while a minority of individuals search for the truth – both physically and spiritually. And who is leading a portion of this resurgence? Women. (Yes, men are also very heavily involved in homesteading.) But women have clearly turned a corner as so many are desiring to learn the ways of homemaking and homesteading – common everyday tasks and traditions that had been forsaken by the past couple generations. Along with homemaking and homesteading is the art of hospitality and women are beginning to find their feminine touch by embracing and learning the traditions of this art. There is great hope for future generations by observing women who embrace their beautiful role within the family and use their God-given talents towards creating beauty through hospitality.

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Danielle Marie Heckenkamp is an author and freelance writer. She contributes to a variety of media publications – discussing faith, family, book reviews, history, politics, and homemaking. Her writings can be found at Crisis Magazine, OnePeterFive, Catholic Mom, Her View From Home, etc.. She is the co-author of an etiquette and manners book published in April 2013. Danielle Heckenkamp has a BA in Political Science and is a wife and mother of six children.

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