The Sisters of the Visitation are integral members of our school community; by their presence, and with their compassion and prayers, they enrich us all.
The Sisters see their primary ministry as one of sharing their gentle faith and Salesian heritage with both students and the greater Visitation family. Called Salesian Spirituality, theirs is a powerful but simple philosophy that comes from the Order’s founder, St. Francis de Sales.
Frequently referred to as the "Saint of Common Sense," St. Francis’ spirituality is very down to earth and encourages everyone to use his or her God-given gifts to “be who you are and be that well.” He was a great proponent of balance, always seeking the middle path and avoiding extremes that create imbalance in one's life. He advocated living a life of gentleness, a virtue that stands strong against the forces of violence, and practicing the "Little Virtues," such as kindness, gentleness, optimism, cheerfulness, humility, thoughtful concern for others, patience, and graciousness. This, he felt, was a way of making life pleasant for all those around us and of reflecting the beauty of Christ’s gospel message: "Learn from me that I am gentle and humble of heart."
St. Jane de Chantal, a widow who co-founded the Visitation Order with St. Francis in 1610, was a woman of tremendous faith who embraced Salesian Spirituality to the fullest. Her famous words, “Doing little things with great love makes them truly great,” encourage our students to become aware of the values of the smallest thing they might do during the day. From its founding by St. Jane and three companions in Annecy, France, the Visitation Order grew rapidly; over 80 monasteries were established by the end of Jane's life in 1641.
The gospel values proposed by both of these saints encourage us to "Live Jesus." May Jesus live in all that we think, in all that we say and in all that we do each moment of the day. This is the Salesian path to holiness and wholeness.
Finally, we see in the mystery of the Visitation the beauty of two women, Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, reaching out to one another as they reciprocally give and receive the Lord's blessings. This is the model we share with both our students, as they minister to one another within the school community, and to our teachers, as they reach out to assist the wholesome growth of the young women in their care. If you would like to learn more about the Visitation Order and its monasteries around the United States, please visit www.visitationsisters.org.
To learn more about the Georgetown Visitation Monastery, please see www.gvmonastery.org.