Ordo Visitationis Beatissimae Mariae Virginis
|Founder||Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal|
|Type||Roman Catholic religious order|
The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary ( V.H.M., Latin: Ordo Visitationis Beatissimae Mariae Virginis) or the Visitation Order is an enclosed Roman Catholic religious order for women. Members of the order are also known as the Salesian Sisters (not to be confused with the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco) or, more commonly, as the Visitandines or Visitation Sisters.
The Order of the Visitation was founded in 1610 by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France. At first the founder had not a religious order in mind; he wished to form a congregation without external vows, where the cloister should be observed only during the year of novitiate, after which the sisters should be free to go out by turns to visit the sick and poor. The order was given the name of The Visitation of Holy Mary with the intention that the sisters would follow the example of Virgin Mary and her joyful visit to her kinswoman Elizabeth, (known as "The Visitation" in the Roman Catholic Church).
He invited Jane de Chantal to join him in establishing a new type of religious life, one open to older women and those of delicate constitution, that would stress the hidden, inner virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, even-tempered charity, and patience, and founded on the example of Mary in her journey of mercy to her cousin Elizabeth.The order was established to welcome those not able to practice austerities required in other orders. Instead of chanting the canonical office in the middle of the night the sisters recited the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin at half-past eight in the evening. There was no perpetual abstinence nor prolonged fast. The Order of the Visitation of Mary was canonically erected in 1618 by Paul V who granted it all the privileges enjoyed by the other orders. A Bull of Urban VIII solemnly approved it in 1626.
The special charism of the Visitation Order is an interior discipline expressed primarily through the practice of two virtues: humility and gentleness.The motto of the order is "Live Jesus".
A foundation was established in Lyons in 1615 followed by Moulines (1616), Grenoble (1618), Bourges (1618), and Paris (1619). When Saint Francis de Sales died (1622) there were 13 convents established; at the death of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in 1641 there were 86.The Order spread from France throughout Europe and to North America. As of 2017, there are about 160 autonomous Visitation monasteries throughout the world.
The Order of the Visitation has been present in Portugal since 1784, maintaining today three monasteries: in Braga, in Vila das Aves and in Batalha. The Sisters of the Visitation in Portugal produce and distribute the emblems of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (like devotional scapulars) as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque did in the past.
At the French Revolution in 1789 when all the religious houses were suppressed many of the French Sisters took refuge in other Catholic countries. The sisters in Rouen, northern France, fled to Portuguese monasteries, having only escaped the guillotine by the death of Robespierre in 1794. In 1803 six sisters left Lisbon in an English packet ship and while at sea they were attacked by French pirates. They were spared because of their nationality (they were French not English) and were returned safely to the Spanish seaport of Vigo. After a brief sojourn in Spain three of the Sisters made a second attempt to cross from Porto and without further encounters with pirates arrived in Falmouth on 29 January 1804. They later journeyed to Acton and founded the first monastery of the Visitation on English soil on 19 March 1804.
In 1835, the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary of Dietramszell acquired Beuerberg Abbey (Kloster Beuerberg), in Eurasburg, Germany. Between 1846 and 1938 they ran a girls' school and a home for nursing mothers at Beuerberg Abbey, and afterwards an old people's convalescent home. The abbey still belongs to the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary.
The nine Visitation Sisters from Madrid, Spain came to Colombia in 1892 and founded the first Monastery at Santa Fe, Bogotá.
The Visitation Sisters came to Ireland in 1955 and founded a Monastery at Stamullen, Co. Meath. When Mother Mary Teresa O’ Dwyer, Superior of the Visitation Monastery of Roseland, England learned that the Brothers of St. John of God were moving out of Silverstream, she applied to the Bishop of Meath, Dr. Kyne for permission for the order of the Visitation to enter his diocese. Staffing problems were solved by borrowing three Sisters from America. The Visitation Monasteries of St. Paul Minnesota, Brooklyn New York and Atlanta Georgia each lent a Sister.
In 2005, The six Visitation Sisters from Manizales, Colombia came to South Korea. The Monastery of the Visitation was established in Jeongok-eup, Yeoncheon County in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
In the United States there are 10 monasteries in two federations. The monasteries of the First Federation live the purely contemplative life, observing papal enclosure, with solemn vows, and have retained the traditional habit of the Order. Of the ten monasteries of the Visitation in the United States, six belong to the First Federation,
Sisters of the Second Federation add apostolic monasteries to their contemplative life.
The Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy was founded in 1848 as the Wheeling Female Academy in downtown Wheeling, West Virginia and in 1865 assumed its current name. While grades five through twelve were all female, Mount de Chantal's Montessori and Elementary schools were co-ed. The school ceased operations on May 31, 2008, and the nuns re-located to the Georgetown Visitation in Washington, D.C. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, before being razed on November 7, 2011.
The best known saint of the Order is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who reportedly received the revelations of the Sacred Heart resulting in the First Friday Devotions and Holy Hours. On May 10, 1998, seven Visitandines of the First Monastery of Madrid, Spain, martyred during the Spanish Revolution of 1936, were beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II.
The nuns were members of the Madrid House of the Order of the Visitation. In early 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, as religious persecution intensified, most of the community moved to Oronoz, leaving a group of six nuns in the charge of Sr Maria Gabriela de Hinojosa. By July they were confined to their apartment, When a neighbour reported them to the authorities, and in November 1936 their apartment searched. Nevertheless, they refused to seek refuge in the consulates.
The following evening, a patrol of the Iberian Anarchist Federation broke into the apartment and ordered all the sisters to leave. They were taken by van to a vacant area and shot. Sr Maria Cecilia, who had run when she felt the sister next to her fall, surrendered shortly after and was shot five days later at the cemetery wall in Vallecas on the outskirts of Madrid.
In 2010, in honor of the worldwide Jubilee Year for the Visitation order, Pope Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence to those who would make a visit to and pray in a Visitation monastery.
Léonie Martin, the sister of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, became a nun of the Order of the Visitation. She received the veil on the 2nd of July 1900 and took the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse Martin. On the 24 January 2015 the process for Leonie's beatification began and she is now known as Servant of God.
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The Salesians of Don Bosco is a Catholic religious institute of the Latin Church, founded in the late nineteenth century by Italian priest Saint John Bosco to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution.
Francis de Sales was a Bishop of Geneva and is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church. He became noted for his deep faith and his gentle approach to the religious divisions in his land resulting from the Protestant Reformation. He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, particularly the Introduction to the Devout Life and the Treatise on the Love of God.
Beuerberg Abbey, formerly a monastery of the Augustinian Canons, is now the Monastery of the Visitation, Beuerberg, a house of the Visitandines in Eurasburg in Bavaria, Germany.
The title Salesian Sisters may refer to one of these Roman Catholic orders for women:
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School is a private Roman Catholic college-preparatory school for girls located in the historic Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown. Founded in 1799 by the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, it is one of the oldest continuously-operating school for girls in the country and the city as well as the oldest Catholic school for girls in the original Thirteen Colonies. It is located within the Archdiocese of Washington.
Convent of the Visitation School, also known as Visitation or Vis, is an independent, all-girls, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory, school in Minnesota. It is located in Mendota Heights near Saint Paul. Visitation is a coeducational school for grades PreK-grade 5, and all-girls for grades 6-12. Visitation is the only all-girls secondary school in Minnesota.
Visitation Academy of St. Louis is a private, all-girls, Roman Catholic school in St. Louis, Missouri, in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. It is a work of the Visitation Sisters who founded it in 1833.
The Monastery of the Visitation, Georgetown is a monastery of the Visitation Order, located in the District of Columbia, United States of America.
The Convent and Academy of the Visitation, properly known today as the Visitation Monastery, is a historic complex of Roman Catholic religious buildings and a small cemetery in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The buildings and grounds were documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1937. They were added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 24, 1992 as a part of Historic Roman Catholic Properties in Mobile Multiple Property Submission. It, along with the Convent of Mercy, is one of two surviving historic convent complexes in Mobile.
Venerable Marie de Sales Chappuis was a Roman Catholic nun and a spiritual leader in the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. She also co-founded the congregation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales along with Blessed Father Louis Brisson.
Teresa Lalor, V.H.M. was an Irish immigrant to the United States, and a nun, co-foundress, with the Most Rev. Leonard Neale, S.J., the second Archbishop of Baltimore, of the Visitation Order's first monastery in the United States.
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Léonie Martin, also known as Sister Françoise-Thérèse, VHM, was a French Roman Catholic nun who led a cloistered life as a member of the Visitation Sisters. She was the daughter of Saints Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin and an elder sister of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She is sometimes dubbed Saint Thérèse's "difficult sister". She assumed the religious name of Françoise-Thérèse.
Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie "Zélie" Guérin Martin were two married Roman Catholic French laypeople and the parents of five Roman Catholic nuns, including Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church in 1925. On 18 October 2015, the couple were also canonized as saints, becoming the first spouses in the church's history to be canonized as a couple.
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