Today, the Feast Day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, is a good to day to highlight the Visitation Nuns in the US. Three are Affiliates of the IRL: Tyringham, MA; Toledo, OH; and Snellville, GA.
Visitation communities are usually of interest to women of an older age, widows, etc. who feel a call to religious life, perhaps newly realized or a call always there that is now being pursued. The communities in Snellville and Toledo do consider belated vocations. As the Snellville nuns told us, “The founder set no age limit for admission.”
St. Margaret Mary was educated in a Poor Clare school but when she visited the Visitation convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, she heard these words in her heart: “This is where I want you.” The Order was founded by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in 1610. The emblem of the Visitation nuns is a heart pierced by two arrows, surrounded by the Crown of Thorns. It was a foreshadowing of revelations to come, 60+ years later, to St. Margaret Mary who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In these revelations, Jesus made known that He was not despot to be feared but a God of love who invites us to come to Him as a child to a Father.
Today is also the anniversary of the Militia Immaculatae, founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe on this day in 1917. The MI’s mission is “To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” The day after his ordination in 1918, Maximilian celebrated his first Mass in Rome at an altar at the Basilica of S. Andrea delle Fratte where the Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to the Jewish Alphonse Ratisbonne who was instantly converted. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead us too to a love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In May, we will see the ordination of many men to the priesthood. Are you looking for a special gift to give one of these newly-ordained men? Is your Pastor having a Jubilee or Anniversary of Ordination? Would you like to remember a loved one by donating a vestment in his or her memory? Something magnificent to consider are beautiful vestments created by the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary in Tyringham, Massachusetts.
The monastery belongs to the illustrious Visitation Order that was founded by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal in France in 1610. They were unique for their time in not practicing severe penances. Rather they are called to “interior renunciations, great simplicity and joy in the common life.” Even though they are a contemplative, cloistered Order, they welcome individual women retreatants, giving priority to those who are considering a vocation.
The sisters sing the Liturgy of the Hours five times each day and have special mission entrusted to them of prayerfully spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Visitation Monastery in Tyringham is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of His Mother, Mary. Thus their monastery is called Mont Deux Coeurs or the Mount of the Two Hearts.
Sr. Gemma Maria is a master seamstress who has been practicing her craft for 40 years. She is now guiding other sisters in the design and creation of sacred vestments. Each Sister within the monastery contributes some artistic handiwork for the enjoyment of others. In order to provide for their growing community and to help to support themselves, they have brought together their creative talents to launch this endeavor.
The beauty and elegance of a well-made vestment enhances the solemnity and sacredness of the Liturgy.
We are privileged to share our artistry and our labor for the Lord with you!
A review of the history and tradition of the Visitation Order shows that Jesus Christ chose them to be the sanctuary of His Sacred Heart. A new video released by them highlights six nuns who were holy recipients of His messages.
Of course, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was the first privileged recipient of the revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; a heart burning with love for all mankind whose hearts are often turned away from the Lord.
Venerable Sister Anne Madeleine Remuzat (b. 1696), of Marseilles, France, was instrumental in having the city of Marseilles consecrated to the Sacred Heart, which saved the city from the bubonic plague.
Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart Bernaud was Foundress of the Guard of Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The origin of the Guard of Honor may be traced back to the first watch on Calvary, when our Lady, St. John and St. Mary Magdalene offered to the pierced Heart of Jesus the first homage of glory, love and reparation. Members can still join today!
Venerable Mary Martha Chambon of the Visitation of Chambery (d. 1907), France was mystically commissioned by Jesus during her lifetime (1841-1907) to renew reverence to His Holy Wounds. St. Francis de Sales in a vision told her “God has chosen you to complete the devotion to the Sacred Heart.”
Venerable Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche was chosen by Our Lord to live her religious life for the clergy.
Sister Marie Teresa Desandais was a Visitation Nun known as the Apostle of Merciful Love and a contemporary of St. Faustina.
The Visitation Nuns hope that His Sacred Heart will profoundly touch yours too.
Within the last year, the Sisters of the Visitation of Toledo, Ohio, have had many reasons to celebrate. In February, Sr. Josefa Maria made her Solemn Profession and Sister Marie was received into the Novitiate, and in March, Sister Susan pronounced first vows.
And the sisters were able to experience “Hollywood” firsthand! With the permission of their Bishop, Holy Trinity Apostolate came to film some scenes for the movie “Leonie!” The film is based on the life of Leonie Martin, one of the sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Leonie had a difficult childhood and after several attempts was professed a Visitandine at the monastery in Caen, France. The movie still needs a distributor but the sisters were able to see the finished product in July.
The Visitation community around the world encourages everyone to explore on foot or via the internet the Visitandine museum, Musée de la Visitation, in Moulins, France where chalices, chasubles and silk liturgical items that have been produced and acquired by the Sisters of the Visitation are on display. A new 5 minute video with music by Vivaldi and English text, gives people a glimpse into these liturgical treasures.
The theme is “Sacred Silk.” Unique in all of France, these artifacts illustrate the genius and creativity of the weavers in the production of silk, interwoven with gold and silver, from the late sixteenth century. Ten thousand objects have been assembled,many of them on loan from Visitation monasteries from 19 countries throughout the world.
On the occasion of the feast of St. Jane de Chantal in 2010, the museum lent His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI jewelry and vestments for the celebration of the Mass.
Revolutions come and go, and today’s social milieu will change with the wind, but for four hundred years a group of nuns have born witness to the merciful heart of Jesus through their lives of gentleness and humility.
The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, founded in 1610 in France, has grown to a worldwide congregation of active and cloistered sisters, and today they can be found in nearly every country. The cloistered Visitation nuns from Toledo, Ohio, recently made a pilgrimage to Annecy, France, where the congregation was founded, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of their founding.
A new video made for the occasion captures the spirit of the Visitation and chronicles the happy excursions of the sisters in the areas once walked by their founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. The video opens with a beautiful panorama of the valley surrounding Annecy.
Delighted to See the Nuns
“We walked everywhere,” the sisters said. “Going to the basilica was always ‘up’ and a steep climb. It allowed us to meet the people who seem delighted to see this large group of nuns, and were all smiles.”
Join the sisters as they journey the next 400 years as they walk in the footsteps of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal. The video capturing the spirit of the pilgrimage was released on January 2, 2012, and has received more than 2,500 views.