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.

By the Numbers

Learn More


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



years of history



Visitation schools
in the U.S.



Salesian camps:
Salesian Leadership Camp



acres of history



founding of the
Visitation Order



School & Monastery



campus buildings
on National Register
of Historic Places



"pious ladies"
founded Visi


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 2019-2020:

Carrying the Charism: A Tradition of Living Jesus

August: Joyful optimism

Eagerness to ‘Live Jesus!’ will enable us to exercise holy love in all things, great or small. ​- St. Jane de Chantal

September: Kindness

I repeat with all my strength, dear Sisters, be kind to one another, respect one another’s opinions, do not criticize, and I beg you, interpret everything positively.​ ​- St. Jane de Chantal 

October: perseverance

Grace never fails us, never leaves us, unless we leave it. Our good God waits for us patiently in our delays; he unceasingly calls us even though we don't answer him; he knocks at the very door of the heart that is shut to him.​ ​- St. Jane de Chantal 

November: gratitude

Would that I could exhaust myself in acts of thanksgiving and gratitude towards this divine Heart, for the great favor He shows us in deigning to accept our help to make Him known, loved and honored.  
- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 

December: humility

It is a good practice of humility not to study the actions of others except to find out their virtues... Whatever we may see our neighbor do, we must always interpret his or her conduct in the best manner possible.​ ​- St. Francis de Sales 

January: Gentleness

Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing is so gentle as real strength. ​- St. Francis de Sales 

February: honesty

Straightforwardness and simplicity are the virtues proper to us.​ - St. Francis de Sales 

March: Courage

Courageous feelings do not lie within our power, but courageous conduct does indeed lie within our power. This is it that God requires of you at the moment, while he holds you on the cross. ​- St. Jane de Chantal

April: simplicity

She who walks simply, walks securely. We must therefore seek God in the simplicity of our hearts. 
- St. Jane de Chantal 

May: Hospitality

We may be excused for not always being bright, but we are not excused for not being gracious, yielding and considerate.​ ​- St. Francis de Sales 

June: generosity

“And in gratitude we ought to be conspicuous, as true Daughters of our Blessed Father, who of all men in the world, was the fullest of gratitude and affability towards all sorts of persons.”
- St. Jane de Chantal

Monthly Salesian Community Masses

In the spirit of hospitality, please join us each month as we welcome an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales to celebrate Mass with the Visitation community. All are welcome for liturgical celebration and spiritual nourishment in the Salesian tradition! All Masses are at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart unless noted otherwise.

  1. Salesian Community Mass (Visi-Gonzaga Mass & Picnic) 9/15/2019
  2. Salesian Community Mass (Chapel) 10/20/2019
  3. Salesian Community Mass (Chapel) 11/17/2019
  4. Salesian Community Mass (Father/Daughter Mass & Brunch) (Nolan) 12/8/2019
  5. Salesian Community Mass (Chapel) 1/12/2020
  6. Salesian Community Mass (Chapel) 2/9/2020
  7. Salesian Community Mass (Mother/Daughter Mass & Tea) (Nolan) 3/22/2020
  8. Salesian Community Mass (Alumnae Reunion Weekend) (Chapel) 4/26/2020
  9. Salesian Community Mass (Chapel) 5/17/2020

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 2019-20 the group will be discussing Inspired Common Sense by Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS. This short booklet contains brief reflections on 7 fundamental themes
of Salesian Spirituality based on the writings and teachings of St. Francis de Sales & St. Jane de Chantal. From Holiness and Daily Life to Living the Little Virtues, Fr. Fiorelli masterfully articulates the basics of this everyday, practical spirituality.

2019-2020 Dates

  • September 10
  • October 8
  • November 12
  • December 10
  • January 14
  • February 11
  • March 10
  • April 21
  • May 12

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 live lives of faith, vision, and purpose.

2019-20 Speakers

  • Maribeth HarperAuthor - October 1, 2019
  • Kati Hylden Krueger '99, "Procession of Love" - October 17, 2019
  • Bro. Mickey McGrath, OSFS, Artist and a Salesian "Man Who Makes a Difference" - November 1, 2019

2018-19 Speakers

    • Marie Therese Kane '14, Environmental Justice Advocate, spoke on Founders Day about "Small Seeds, Big Purpose" and mobilizing others around environmental and social justice issues.


      2017-18 Speakers
      • Meghan Ogilvie, CEO of Dog Tag Inc., spoke about "baking a difference" in the lives of transitioning veterans and military families, encouraging service and trust in God. Watch her speech here.
      • Margaret Camarca, nurse, writer, humanitarian, spoke on "Sowing Seeds of Peace: My Life at Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan."
      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 Lay Association for Men (SLAM)

Salesian Lay Association for Men (SLAM) gatherings are an opportunity for fathers of Visitation students - current and graduates - to gather monthly for Mass, fellowship, and Salesian formation.

SLAM was founded by and for fathers of students and graduates of Oblate Salesian schools who were attracted to the practical and optimistic spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. Their Apostolic Mission is “living Jesus” through practicing the Spiritual Directory of St. Francis de Sales, praying for the Church and for one another. The Visitation SLAM embraces this same mission, particularly as it is lived out in their vocations as fathers of Visitation women.

The Visitation SLAM meets on the third Saturday of the month during the school year, joining the Sisters at Mass in the Chapel at 7:30 a.m., then gathering at 8:00 a.m. in the Faculty Lounge for an hour of coffee, prayer, and conversation about that month’s Salesian readings (2-3 pages of Salesian writings, emailed in advance with a copy always on hand as well).

Come to SLAM once or every month, as your schedule allows.

VFC SLAM Meeting 9/21/2019   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 10/19/2019   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 11/16/2019   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 12/14/2019   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 1/18/2020   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 2/15/2020   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 3/21/2020   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 4/18/2020   7:30 - 9:00 AM
VFC SLAM Meeting 5/16/2020   7:30 - 9:00 AM

Questions? VFC SLAM Leader, Scott Troxell (Meg ‘14, Katie ‘20)

Salesian Events

  • Founders' Day
  • Salesian Homeroom
  • Salesian Soup for the Soul
  • Pilgrimages to Annecy, France
  • 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.

St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center Staff

Olivia Wills Kane '85
Director, ext. 2732

Susan Nalezyty, Ph.D.
School Archivist & Historian, ext. 2135

Salesian Ministry Team

Advisory Board

Annette Barr, Chair
Mary Kate Blaine
Patricia Branson
Mary Beth Connell
Kathleen Curtin '79
Sr. Loretta Fahey, VHM
Barbara Furey
Sr. Mada-anne Gell, VHM
Ann O'Neil Gradowski '81
Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan, VHM '48 & '50
Rev. Matt Hillyard, OSFS
Olivia Wills Kane '85
Daniel M. Kerns, Jr.
Laurie Collins Quirk '74
Alejandra Segura
Gabriela Smith
Nathalie Bergin Sullivan '71

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.

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