The Visitation Order
St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva and author of “Introduction to the Devout Life,” is revered for his kindness and clear, concise approach to Catholic doctrine. His teachings are timeless; his words as relevant today as they were over 400 years ago. Today we use the term Salesian Spirituality to describe the spiritual legacy of Sts. Francis and Jane.
After hearing St. Francis de Sales preach in 1604, St. Jane de Chantal (1572-1641) immediately recognized him as the spiritual director she'd been seeking. St. Jane was known for her piety, charity, and steadfast faith, and fervently embraced St. Francis' admonition to rely on the Little Virtues in order to live according to God's will.
The Visitation Order
The Sisters of the Visitation are the heart of our school community; by their presence, and with their compassion and prayers, they enrich us all.
The Sisters see their primary ministry as sharing their gentle faith and Salesian heritage with both students and the greater Visitation family. They share Salesian Spirituality, a powerful but simple philosophy that comes from Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.
There is nothing so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength.
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 strongly against the forces of violence, and practicing "Little Virtues," like kindness, gentleness, optimism, cheerfulness, humility, and thoughtful concern for others. 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 was a woman of tremendous faith who embraced Salesian Spirituality to the fullest. Her best-known expression, “Doing little things with great love makes them truly great,” is a favorite around the Georgetown Visitation campus. It encourages our students (and all our community members) to be present in their daily lives and attentive to their actions and words.
Sts. Francis and Jane established the first Visitation Monastery in Annecy, France, in 1610. From there, the Order grew rapidly; over 80 monasteries were established by the end of Jane's life in 1641.
Doing little things with great love makes them truly great!
St. Jane de Chantal
The gospel values proposed by both these saints encourage us to "Live Jesus." May Jesus live in all we think, say, and 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, and to our teachers, as they reach out to assist the wholesome growth of the young women in their care.
To learn more about the Georgetown Visitation Monastery, visit www.gvmonastery.org.