The Monastery is a home of religious whose lives are dedicated to prayer and living in community. Visitation Sisters throughout the world live together in their own monasteries, rarely leave the grounds and are self-sufficient.
Our Visitation Monastery, located in Western Massachusetts is made up of religious women who have been called by the Lord to live together in community, sharing a vowed life of poverty, celibacy, and obedience and growing together spiritually through our prayer, work, and study.
The Visitation Community lived in the Bancroft Parkway monastery in Wilmington, Delaware from 1893 to 1993. In 1992, the sisters voted to relocate to Massachusetts and we moved into our present home in Tyringham in December 1995.
Traditionally, a monastery is named in honor of a sacred mystery or a heavenly patron. The Visitation Monastery in Tyringham is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of His Mother, Mary. Thus our monastery is called Mont Deux Coeurs or the Mount of the Two Hearts.
When Saint Frances De Sales founded the Visitation Sisters in conjunction with Saint Jane de Chantal in 1610, he gave the community a coat of arms. He describes this Coat of Arms in a letter to Saint Jane written on June 10, 1611:
“the Lord gave me this thought during the middle of the night; that our house of the Visitation is by his grace, noble and important enough to have its own coat of arms, its escutcheon…So I have thought, dear Mother, if you agree, we should take as our coat or arms a single heart pierced by two arrows, the whole enclosed in a crown of thorns, and with the poor heart serving to hold and support a cross which is to surmount it; and the heart is to be engraved with the sacred names of Jesus and Mary.. for indeed our little congregation is the work of the hearts of Jesus and Mary.”
Saint Francis De Sales, Selected Letters, translated by Elisabeth Stopp, p 193
The Visitation community of Tyringham, Massachusetts was founded in 1853 in Keokuk,Iowa by the Visitation Monastery of Montluel, France . In the 19th Century, it was necessary for Visitation communities, both in France and in the United States, to have academies for girls in order to support themselves. Our community was no exception.
After having moved from Keokuk, Iowa, to Suspension Bridge, New York, and then, lastly, to Wilmington, Delaware in 1868, a generous benefactress enabled our community to close the school in 1893 and live the full contemplative life. In 1993 the community relocated to Massachusetts and moved into its present monastery, Mont Deux Coeurs, in December of 1995.
The Visitation Sisters of Tyringham are cloistered, contemplative religious whose lives are dedicated to prayer and to living in community. In great simplicity we strive to be a gentle presence in a world threatened with terrorism and war. Our Salesian spirituality teaches us to be gentle towards ourselves, with each other, and with all persons with whom we come in contact.
According to the express wish of our Founders, we do not practice severe penances. In place of these austerities, we strive to live with our Sisters in gentleness and humility, by mortifying our self-will and our own personal preferences.
We particularly honor Our Lady in the mystery of her Visitation. In imitation of Mary, we endeavor to “Live Jesus”, to live the Christ-life as we witness to the Church and to the world.