Sr. Sylvie-Marie

Sister of the Visitation

How long have you been at Georgetown Visitation?
By the grace of God, I entered Georgetown Visitation Monastery on September 4, 2015 as a Postulant. On May 31, 2016 I was lovingly accepted as a Novice.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Tulcán, Ecuador, and at the age of 9, along with my parents and two siblings, we immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where I grew up and received my education.

For 20 years I worked in marketing within the travel and tourism industry. It was during those years, in my leisure time, that I was privileged to serve the homeless of downtown Toronto; provide assistance to the impoverished in my neighborhood through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; and volunteer as a youth leader for my parish and do missionary work in Guatemala.

As my relationship with God began to grow, so did my need to do more for others. As a result, I left the for-profit sector and worked for three years for a nonprofit charity assisting children born with cleft lip and palate, before finally and blissfully hearing the call to religious life. When I have been asked, “How did you come to hear about Visitation?”, my answer is always the same: “It was God who brought me here, ever so lovingly and patiently, like a small child being led by the hand into my little of bit of heaven on Earth!”

What is your favorite thing about Visi?

It brings me great peace and joy knowing that Visitation is centered around the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, through the Salesian Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is alive in everyone here in the daily acts of kindness, gentleness, thoughtful concern for others, and cheerful spirits full of optimism, faith, and perseverance. Yes, the Salesian Little Virtues bloom here daily!

What makes this place so unique?

From the moment I stepped onto the campus and into the community, it felt like home. It has never been intimidating due to its grandeur or prestige, but is a place where all are warmly embraced and welcomed. Although it is centrally located in Georgetown, in the middle of all the busyness of Washington, DC, I can truly say, in St. Jane de Chantal’s words, “This is the place of our delight and rest.”

Which is your favorite Little Virtue?

Thoughtful concern for others is a virtue that makes my heart burst with joy, as there is no greater happiness than serving others! When we give of ourselves freely, we allow those around us to experience God’s love and mercy. Here at Visi, there are so many opportunities to exercise this virtue and not only within the school but also through service work within the city, around the country, and throughout the world.

How do Visitation students and alumnae inspire you?

Visitation students and alumnae have shown me through their faith, self-sacrificing love, discipline, dedication, loyalty, and joyful spirit that the Hand of God is at work here, and that inspires me! That gives me hope for our world, which is so much in need of more beautiful souls such as our Visitation family.

What would you want prospective families to know about Visitation?

Visitation is a place where your daughters can truly become who God meant them to be, because it is through the teachings of St. Francis de Sales to “Be who you are and be that well” that they will face everyday challenges. Here, they will have a tremendous support network—an open-door policy to assist them academically, through counselling, by way of activities that encourage teamwork and personal achievement, and, of course, the love and prayers of all of the Sisters. Ultimately, they will become women of faith, vision, and purpose.