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 Francis de Sales and 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, an event celebrated in Christianity as "The Visitation".
De Sales 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 Mary at half-past eight in the evening. There was no perpetual abstinence nor prolonged fasting. 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 Francis de Sales died (1622) there were 13 convents established; at the death of Jane Frances de Chantal in 1641 there were 86.The Order spread from France throughout Europe and to North America. As of 2021, there are about 150 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. They subsequently re-located to [[Heathfield and Waldron|Waldron
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 work 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 (1863-1941), the third sister of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, became a nun of the Order of the Visitation after many failures and hardships in her life. She received the veil on the 2nd of July 1900 at the Visitation in the French city of Caen and took the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse. On the 24 January 2015, the process for Leonie's beatification began and she is now known as Servant of God.
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary, and outlying granges. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.
Thérèse of Lisieux, born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin, also known as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun who is widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known in English as "The Little Flower of Jesus", or simply "The Little Flower,” and in French as la petite Thérèse.
The Camaldolese monks and nuns are two different, but related, monastic communities that trace their lineage to the monastic movement begun by Saint Romuald.
The Minims are members of a Roman Catholic religious order of friars founded by Saint Francis of Paola in fifteenth-century Italy. The Order soon spread to France, Germany and Spain, and continues to exist today.
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.
The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales are a congregation of Roman Catholic priests and brothers who follow the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. The community was founded in Troyes, France in 1875 by Louis Brisson and are affiliated with the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales.
Leonard Neale was an American Catholic prelate and Jesuit who became the Archbishop of Baltimore and the first Catholic bishop to be ordained in the United States. While president of Georgetown College, Neale became the coadjutor bishop to John Carroll and founded the Georgetown Visitation Monastery and Academy.
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 schools 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.
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 Montessori PreK-grade 5, and all-girls for grades 6-12. Visitation is the only all-girls secondary school in Minnesota.
The Third Order of Saint Francis, is a third order in the Franciscan order. The preaching of Francis of Assisi, as well as his example, exercised such an attraction on people that many married men and women wanted to join the First Order (friars) or the Second Order (nuns), but this being incompatible with their state of life, Francis found a middle way and in 1221 gave them a rule according to the Franciscan charism. Those following this rule became members of the Franciscan Third Order, sometimes called tertiaries. It includes religious congregations of men and women, known as Third Order Regulars; and fraternities of men and women, Third Order Seculars. The latter do not wear a religious habit, take vows, or live in community. However, they do gather together in community on a regular basis. "They make profession to live out the Gospel life and commit themselves to that living out the Gospel according to the example of Francis."
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 Order of Our Lady of Charity is a Roman Catholic monastic order, founded in 1641 by Saint John Eudes, at Caen, France.
The Monastery of the Visitation, Georgetown is a monastery of the Visitation Order 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.
Virgil Horace Barber was an American Jesuit.
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.
The Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Sisters of the Annunciation or Annonciades, is an enclosed religious order of contemplative nuns founded in honor of the Annunciation in 1501 at Bourges by Joan de Valois, also known as Joan of France, daughter of King Louis XI of France, and wife of Louis, the Duke of Orléans, later King Louis XII of France.
Silverstream Priory is a Roman Catholic monastery in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland, founded in 2012. The monastery is an autonomous diocesan priory of the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration.
Richmond Hill is an ecumenical fellowship, residence and urban retreat center. The St. John's Church Historic District in Richmond, Virginia includes several churches of various denominations, including this former Catholic convent and school which is a contributing property that continues to address the area's spiritual and educational needs.
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