There's something special about getting an invitation. In eighth grade, we received the large white envelope in the mail marked from Georgetown Visitation. Little did we know it would be an invitation to be a member of something that would open our hearts like nothing we had known before. With much anticipation, we counted down the days until the beginning of the school year.
The night before my first day as a freshman at Visitation, I, probably like many others, was nervous about how that very next day would be the beginning of a life-changing experience. Having no older sisters at Visitation, I was afraid of taking on the experience of a new school on my own. It meant new teachers, new classmates, and a new lifestyle.
As freshmen, my class entered the campus tentatively, hoping for the best, looking to make new friends, grow spiritually and excel academically. We attended the orientations, introduced ourselves to new faces, played the role of polite guest as our hostesses welcomed us with open arms. Soon, strangers became familiar friends and the time flew by quickly. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors we saw in the halls soon had names, not just faces. Classes, clubs, sports teams, mixers and formal dances became a gathering of what seemed more like sisters or old friends than the strangers they were before. A funny joke, a wave to someone on the way to class, a text, a dependable carpool, a random ride to or from school - all of a sudden, these became the norm, and Visitation seemed like a second home.
As sophomores, the class of 2018 welcomed us to the Commons. Whether you were singing at the top of your lungs on our very first day or playing pranks on us at the end of the year, you showed us how to relax and have fun as newcomers in the school.
As juniors, you moved into the Playroom which meant we were in charge of the Commons, so we followed your lead, welcoming in the freshmen with open arms. You welcomed your freshmen Little Sisters into Visi with kind notes, welcome gifts, and open hearts continuing the spirit of hospitality with which you welcomed us. At Mixers you screamed; at Gold/White you cheered; and you danced with us at our very first Snowball. You were a teammate, a cast mate, a classmate and if we were lucky, a friend.
As seniors this year, you led us at Kairos; we danced together at Prom; you challenged us at Quiz Bowl; and you showed us what it truly meant to be a leader and the perfect host.
For four years, you seniors have been honored to be in something so special, unique to being here at Visitation. You started as freshman, as guests, and quickly became the hosts. The hospitality you've shown us has molded us, making us feel the way we do today.
St. Jane de Chantal said, "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." You opened your hearts and touched ours over the past years we've known you. As you all pursue your journey in life after Visitation, let the hospitality you perfectly exemplified here stay with you. The same goes for the rest of the Visitation community: we must all open our hearts and continue to live out the virtues the seniors have shown in the past years.
Molly gave this address as a Salesian reflection on the Little Virtue of hospitality today, following the closing Mass of the school year.