About our Founders and our beginnings
History of the Order
The Order of the Visitation was founded in 1610 by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal inAnnecy, Haute-Savoie, France. At first the founder had not a religious order in mind; he wished to form a congregation without external vows, where the cloister should be observed only during the year of novitiate, after which the sisters should be free to go out by turns to visit the sick and poor. The order was given the name of The Visitation of Holy Mary with the intention that the Sisters would follow the example of Virgin Mary and her joyful visit to her kinswoman Elizabeth, (known as "The Visitation" in the Roman Catholic Church).
Francis de Sales invited Jane de Chantal to join him in establishing a new type of religious life, one open to older women and those of delicate constitution, that would stress the hidden, inner virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, even-tempered charity, and patience, and founded on the example of Mary in her journey of mercy to her cousin Elizabeth. The order was established to welcome those not able to practice austerities required in other orders. Instead of chanting the canonical office in the middle of the night the sisters recited the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin at half-past eight in the evening. There was no perpetual abstinence nor prolonged fast. The Order of the Visitation of Mary was canonically erected in 1618 by Paul V who granted it all the privileges enjoyed by the other orders. A Bull of Urban VIII solemnly approved it in 1626.
The special charism of the Visitation Order is an interior discipline expressed primarily through the practice of two virtues: humility and gentleness. The motto of the order is "Live Jesus".
A foundation was established in Lyons in 1615 followed by Moulines (1616), Grenoble (1618), Bourges (1618), and Paris (1619). When Saint Francis de Sales died (1622) there were 13 convents established; at the death of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in 1641 there were 86.
The Order spread from France throughout Europe and to North America;there are about 130 autonomous monasteries of the worldwide contemplative Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary: Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Korea and the Phillipines.
(This information was provided by the Order of the Visitation and contributed to Wikipedia)