As Visitation Sisters around the world look forward to the feast of St. Francis de Sales on January 24th, the sisters in the United States say that an interest in 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 26th. Visits have increased to 650 per month, according to the Order’s federation of five houses throughout the eastern and mid-western United States. The website has posted a steady stream of articles on Salesian spirituality, while explaining little-known devotions and facts concerning the lives of the two founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.
A video produced by the Second Federation, “Longsuffering Leader: the Life of St. Jane de Chantal” has gained nearly 3,000 views since its publication in August. And its “Living Jesus Chat Room” has attracted a vibrant Sunday audience on its website, at which participants talk about the Salesian spirituality and vocation.
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, Haute-Savoie, France. The charism of the Visitation Order combines gentleness with a valiant spirit; initiative with communal support; dedication to prayer with presence in the world, and a contemplative life with an apostolic dimension. The order’s motto is “Vive Jésus” (French for “Live Jesus”).
The Order spread from France throughout Europe and to North America. Today they number approximately 2,500 Sisters in more than 150 monasteries throughout the world. The group is growing in Africa; there is a monastery in Korea; and in South and Central America the houses continue to expand. In the United States there are 11 monasteries in two federations. Six are dedicated to the contemplative life, and the others–Georgetown, St. Louis, Mendota Heights, Brooklyn, and Minneapolis–add apostolic works to their contemplative life.
For more information on the Visitation and its spirituality for religious and laity, visit the Second Federation of the Visitation.