On November 21, 2015, Visitation Sisters around the world renewed their vows. On the day when the entire Church celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day when Sts. Anne and Joachim presented their daughter to the Lord, these daughters of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal presented themselves before the altar of the Lord and professed their eternal devotion to their Spouse.
Joining in this renewal of vows was the the Visitation Monastery in Tyringham, Massachusetts. It is relatively new, the sisters having moved there in 1995 from Delaware. It is called Mont Deux Coeurs or the Mount of the Two Hearts because it is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of His Mother, Mary.
It could also be said that the term Mont Deux refers to the hearts of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal who were the co-founders of the Visitation Order. One biographer said that their relationship went unbelievably deep – “One is forced back to Scripture parallels: the love of Joseph for Mary, the love of our Lord for Martha and Mary.” One could say that the Visitation nuns are twice twice blessed!
The Visitation Sisters of Tyringham are cloistered, contemplative religious whose lives are dedicated to prayer and to living in community. They try to be gentle instruments of the Lord in the midst of a world increasingly violent and intolerant.
Their “work” is to sing the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day with the Church. On the first Sunday of the month, one of the Sisters gives a talk on the Heart of Jesus at the monastery, open to everyone. One of the recent talks was about Leonie Martin (d. 1941), sister of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was a Visitation nun, in Caen, France, and her cause is being promoted.
Leonie was the most difficult of the Martin children, prone to outbursts and a poor student. Can you imagine having a saint for a sister? Yet, she persevered, really persevered and found her heart filled after a long life with the infinite tenderness of God.
Here is a Visitation sister’s reflection on what her canonization would mean to so many: “To those millions of souls who see themselves ungraced, ungifted, unlovable, unlikely to succeed (in every conceivable way), Leonie presents the impossible turned possible, the lost sheep hoisted upon the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, Who searches out the least of His flock and gathers them close to His heart.”