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St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center

Simple, yet powerful and life affirming, Salesian Spirituality is the foundation for all that is Visitation; it is our legacy from the Sisters. To safeguard and continue this incomparable way of life, Georgetown Visitation founded the St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center in May 2016. The Center offers us the assurance of a permanent home for the tangible and intangible treasures of our school history and of the Sisters’ spiritual endowment for generations to come.

The Mission: To ensure that the Sisters’ gentle, inspired common sense approach to living a faith-filled life continues to endure, flourish, and guide all aspects of a Visitation education into our third century and beyond. The Center is built on four guiding pillars:
  • Faith Formation: The creation of a diverse portfolio of Salesian faith formation offerings to support our community’s understanding and embrace of Salesian Spirituality.
  • Leadership and Living Our Faith Through Service: Cultivating and energizing our students and alumnae to be leaders in the Church, the community, and the world through voice, witness, and deed—"Living Jesus" in all that they do.
  • Engagement Beyond the Green Gate: Developing a variety of communication platforms for sharing the inspired writings and teachings of St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane de Chantal, and the Sisters of the Visitation within and beyond our campus.
  • Preserving Our Past: Carefully preserving our archival documents, photographs, and objects that celebrate our 218-year history, and making our rich story and traditions accessible through multimedia.

To carry out this important work, our Director works collaboratively with the Sisters of the Visitation, Salesian Ministry, Campus Ministry, Christian Service, and Religion Departments to create meaningful ways for our lay community to be the hands and voice of our Salesian charism as we witness the Sisters’ beautiful way of Living Jesus.

The School Archivist leads the Center’s efforts to collect, conserve, display, and interpret a vast store of documents, photographs, art, and artifacts that chronicle the school’s and Sisters’ histories.

To be stewards of our school’s mission and leaders of our Salesian charism is a communal gift, a communal privilege, and a communal responsibility.

Salesian Spirituality 101

Salesian Spirituality is a universal, practical spirituality, appropriate for any person at any time. Fundamentally, it encourages us to trust in God’s loving providence as we walk through our days—and it provides common sense guidance on how best to do this.

Salesian Spirituality is the summation of the teachings of our spiritual co-founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal, who founded the Visitation Order more than 400 years ago in France. They recognized the importance of spiritual direction for lay people; this is the spirituality that Visitation teaches and models today.

Though Salesian Spirituality is centuries old, it is still highly relevant in the 21st century because it is based on knowledge of human nature. In addition to our relationship with God, it offers direction on how to navigate life’s relationships and challenges through simple ideas and small actions.

The Sisters have always lived Salesian Spirituality. Previously, students absorbed it through the presence of the Sisters in the classroom and around the school. Recently, the school and Monastery started discussing and teaching Salesian Spirituality in a very intentional way. Today, as lay leaders, our faculty and staff have assumed this responsibility and continue to nurture this spirituality that serves as our community’s foundation.

Read the full article below.

By the Numbers

Learn More
heart

2

religious co-founders:
St. Francis de Sales &
St. Jane de Chantal

lamp

218

years of history

pencil

4

Visitation schools
in the U.S.

give

2

Salesian camps:
VISTORY &
Salesian Leadership Camp

tree

23

acres of history

cross

1610

founding of the
Visitation Order

book

2

archives:
School & Monastery

gv

14

campus buildings
on National Register
of Historic Places

girls

3

"pious ladies"
founded Visi

4

Salesian Programming

Monthly Themes

Drawn from the Little Virtues, inspired common sense, and spiritual counsel found in the writings and teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal, monthly Salesian themes have been chosen for our journey through each school year.

Network of Visitation Schools Theme for 2017-18:
A Tradition of Letters: Heart Speaks to Heart

JULY: GENEROSITY
"We cannot always offer God great things, but at each instant we can offer little things with great love." - St. Jane de Chantal

August: Humility

“The summit of perfect humility consists in absolute and entire dependence upon the will of God.” - St. Jane de Chantal

September: Balance

“It is better to do little and to do it well. It is not by the multiplicity of the things we do that we advance in virtue but by the fervor with which we do them.” - St. Francis de Sales

October: Faithfulness

“Do everything in a spirit of gentleness and fidelity, thinking of attaining your goal in God’s time not your own.” - St. Jane de Chantal

November: Gratitude

“Of ourselves we are nothing; all that we have and all that we are come from God.”- St. Francis de Sales

December: Optimism

“Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight. It enables us to see God in all things as well as all things in God.” - St. Francis de Sales

January: Gentleness

“Gentleness encourages hearts and makes them more receptive while harsh words only harden hearts.” - St. Jane de Chantal

February: Thoughtful Concern for Others

“Those who anticipate their neighbor with the blessings of sweetness will be the most perfect imitators of our Lord.” - St. Francis de Sales

March: Perseverance

“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them but bend them with gentleness and time.” - St. Francis de Sales

April: Simplicity

“To be faithful, we must live simply. Then being free from attachments, we are possessed by nothing.” - St. Jane de Chantal

May: Hospitality

“An open heart is a heart disposed to help the neighbor at all times. Such a heart loves the will of God in all things.” - St. Jane de Chantal

June: Sincerity

“A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will to serve God in the way and places the Almighty God has called you.” - St. Francis de Sales

Monthly Salesian Community Masses

Typically 10 a.m. on the third Sunday of the month in the Nolan Center ~ refreshments follow in the lobby

In the spirit of hospitality, please join us as we welcome an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales to celebrate Mass with the Visitation community. All are welcome!

2017-18 Dates

  • September 17
  • October 15
  • November 19
  • December 3 at 9 a.m.* note time change
  • January 21
  • February 18
  • March 18
  • April 29
  • May 20

Salesian Spirituality Formation with Sisters

8:30 a.m. in the Heritage Room ~ Second Tuesday of the Month. Join us for one or all!

Sisters, alumnae, parents, and faculty come together once a month for spiritual nourishment and learning about Visitation’s Salesian charism. Sr. Mary Berchmans '48& '50 and Sr. Loretta’s “Salesian Friends Group” explores the timeless and inspired teaching of our founders and the spirit that infuses all that we do at Visitation. Each year the group focuses on a different book. For 2017-2018 the group will be reading St. Francis’ letters from "Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction."

2017-18 Dates

  • September 12
  • October 10
  • November 14
  • December 12
  • January 9
  • February 13
  • March 13
  • April 10
  • May 8

Women Who Make A Difference Speaker Series

Sponsored with the support of the Salesian Center, the Women Who Make A Difference Speaker Series brings “great-hearted women” to campus to share how they have heard and responded to the call to lives of faith, vision, and purpose.

2017-18 speakers to be announced

2016-17 Speakers

  • Rebecca Kamen, sculptor & lecturer, spoke about her work "STRATA: The Interconnection of Art, Science, and Spirituality."
  • Dr. Nancy Cowdin, neuroscience researcher & Visitation science teacher, spoke on “Sleep, Memory, and Emotions.” Dr. Cowdin presented current research findings on how sleep quality and quantity affect learning and health.
  • Cokie Roberts, journalist, political commentator, and author, was this year's Rosemary Hannan Mother-Daughter Book Talk guest. Ms. Roberts spoke on her most recent work, “Capital Dames," an account of the experiences, contributions, and influence of women in Washington, DC, during the Civil War era, including several Visitation alumnae.
  • Sr. Mada-anne Gell, VHM, Monastery archivist, spoke about Visitation Sisters who were World’s Fair prize-winners, architects, engineers, computer pioneers, artists, authors, and historians who made lasting contributions to American education.
  • Anne Goetze shared the love and story behind her photographic painting exhibit, "Pray to Love, Love to Pray: The Annecy France Nun Series.
  • Magda Pettey (Veronika '17) reflected on God’s mercy and grace during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Loving Life, Living Jesus Reflections

To share the charism of the Visitation Sisters, Georgetown Visitation offers weekly spiritual reflections for members and friends of our Salesian family far and wide. Learn more about our Loving Life, Living Jesus reflections.

Salesian Events

  • Founders' Day
  • Salesian Homeroom
  • Salesian Soup for the Soul
  • Pilgrimages to Annecy, France
  • VISTORY
  • Salesian Leadership Camp

Salesian Resources

An ever-expanding library of classic and contemporary Salesian Spirituality resources is available in the Salesian Center and St. Bernard Library to support our community's Salesian education and formation.

Additionally, the Sisters of the Visitation and DeSales Resource & Ministries, Inc. each sponsor a web presence for their charism and ministries.

  • "Visitation Spirit" - A online ministry of the Second Federation of the Visitation in the United States that promotes the spirituality of Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.
  • Embraced by God - Resources for joyful living inspired by Sts. Francis and Jane.



Our mission speaks to the importance of educating the mind and heart. We must plant the seeds as the lay community accepts the call to carry the spirit to those who have yet to encounter the Salesian Way. The St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center makes this possible.

-Laurie Collins Quirk '74, English Department Chair & Salesian Ministry Team Member


St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center Staff

Olivia Wills Kane '85
Director
olivia.kane@visi.org, ext. 2732

Susan Nalezyty, Ph.D.
School Archivist
susan.nalezyty@visi.org, ext. 2135

Salesian Ministry Team

Advisory Board

Annette Barr
Mary Kate Blaine
Patricia Branson
Mary Beth Connell
Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan, VHM
Rev. Matt Hillyard, OSFS
Olivia Wills Kane '85
Daniel M. Kerns, Jr.
Katie McNerney '93
Laurie Collins Quirk '74
Gabriela Smith
Nathalie Bergin Sullivan '71


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