As Visitation Sisters around the world look forward to the feast of St. Francis de Sales Jan 24, the sisters in the United States say that the spirituality crafted by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal remains strong and shows signs of growth.
That’s true, judged by web visits to the Sisters’ new Second Federation website, begun last February. Visits have increased to 650 per month, and the website has posted a steady stream of articles on Salesian spirituality, while explaining little-known devotions and facts in the lives of the two founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.
This spirituality is suited for both those living in the world, and for contemplative life, such as that of sisters living in the Visitation’s cloistered communities. The 1999 Vatican instruction Verbi Sponsa states, “. . . Just as in the upper room, Mary in her heart, with her prayerful presence, watched over the origins of the Church, so too now the Church’s journey is entrusted to the loving heart and praying hands of cloistered nuns” (No. 4).
The Order, formally known as the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, was founded in 1610 by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in Annecy, in eastern France. The Order spread from France throughout Europe and beyond. Today the group numbers approximately 2,500 Sisters in more than 150 monasteries throughout the world. They are growing in Africa; there is a monastery in Korea, and in South and Central America the houses continue to expand.
For more information on the Visitation and its spirituality for religious and laity, visit the Second Federation of the Visitation. Learn also about cloistered Visitation communities, such as the Toledo, OH Visitation.