We hosted out first Little Women Hospitality group on Saturday. We had a lovely group of eleven girls, my baby slept the whole time and my wonderful friend, Marti, stayed to help.
LWH has nine monthly lessons in the art of hospitality. Each lesson allows the girls to earn a charm for their choice of bracelet or necklace, and a holy card.
The first lesson is in baking cookies and they earn a cookie jar charm, which is ...quite charming!
However, hospitality is so much more than entertaining, it about serving graciously with love. We opened the lesson with the prayer of St. Francis.
I spoke to the girls a little about what true hospitality entails and why it is important. Here are my notes.
Catholics have a long tradition of hospitality. In the early church the Christian faith grew partly because the early Christians were so kind and welcoming to one another and all who needed their help. Their kindness was unusual in that culture. The kind hospitality they showed, helped to evangelize non-Christians. They saw the way that Christians treated others and thought “I want that in my life!.” Hospitality is about serving others and showing them Christian love.
The order that was started by St. Benedict, the Benedictines, strives to welcome others through their hospitality and generosity. It was so important to St. Benedict that he wrote it into their rules. He taught that his order should accept people the way they are and to see Christ in them. We grow closer to our Lord and Our Lady by living alongside people who aren’t perfect, and need our kind acts of hospitality. Everyone should be received as if they are Christ.
Now you girls do not have your own homes to welcome people into. You can welcome new students in your class with kindness. That is practicing hospitality. You can help welcome a new family at your parish. But the main path for all of us to learn any virtue is in our own homes and families. That is God’s wonderful plan.
The people you are around the most, your parents and brothers and sisters and any guests in your home are the people God has given you to be kind and welcoming towards. Yes, even your parents could sometimes use a loving welcome after a long day at work or even grocery shopping. Grocery shopping exhausts us moms!
Hospitality does not have to be fancy. Simple gestures help make others fell welcome and loved. A smile, a ‘how was your day’ , 'let me get a glass of water or coffee’... or... baking cookies! Everyone loves cookies so our first lesson will be a baking one. I bet many of you do some baking and know quite a bit but we will try to begin with the basics.
I also mentioned to the girls how much I like the name of the program. 'Little Woman' is taken of course from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women books. It is the affectionate term used for their girls by Marmee and Mr. March. They loved their girls so deeply, just as the girls in our group are loved so very much by their parents.
We are looking forward to the next delightful meeting!