The hidden life of Visitation Sisters

Photo exhibit shows the hidden life of Visitation Sisters 



Above is a photo/painting by Anne Goetze, as shown on the EWTN interview of the artist.


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Anne Goetze is an artist who has given the world a unique window into the hidden life of the Visitation nuns.

Anne has developed a series of images based on photographs taken at the Visitation monastery in Annecy, France, the founding monastery of the Visitation Sisters. Her display of the images, enhanced with an artist’s brush, have been gathered into an exhibit which has traveled throughout the United States.

The exhibit began when she visited her aunt, who was a sister at the Visitation monastery in that mountainous region. Although Anne did not plan the images from the beginning, she took photos during her visit, which captured moments of everyday life of the sisters. Later, she developed the photos into the enhanced images seen today.

Anne’s training was as a retouch artist, and she applied her skills to enhancing the photographs. Although such photos are not usually taken of these sisters since they are contemplatives, Anne was able to gain the trust and confidence of the community members. Her images display a side of life of a contemplative community that is not often seen.

The images, which are photos overlaid with mottled brush strokes, appear as impressionist paintings. The pictures display sisters laughing, praying and talking, and they capture the beauty of the Alps and the old streets of Annecy.

Anne’s project was discussed recently on the EWTN show, At Home With Jim and Joy.

“The sisters appear as little, petite. But they are tough, brave women,” Anne relates.

Anne’ images reflect the Visitation Sisters’ focus on virtues of humility and gentleness. Her exhibit was first displayed at The Customs House Museum in Nashville, TN and then traveled to Visitation monasteries and other locations around the United States, such as Mobile, AL; the basilica at St. Paul, MN; Brooklyn, NY; and Georgetown, in Washington DC. Plans are to take the exhibit to Visitation monasteries in St. Louis, MO; Toledo, OH; Tyringham, MA; Richmond, VA, and possibly locations outside the U.S.

Anne hopes to go to other Visitation monasteries and chronicle their stories as well. She says that her work is “not straight photography and not straight painting,” but a blend of the two. Impressionism and realism enter into her images.

See the EWTN show, At Home With Jim and Joy. Anne’s images are on her website at There you can see a video, Pray to Love, that features beautiful photos of Annecy, as well as an interview of her aunt while she was live.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. After watching the EWTN video and the video, Pray to Love, what do you know about the Visitation Sisters that you didn’t know before?
  2. How do you think community life of the Visitation Sisters is similar to your experiences of living with family, or with others?
  3. Does Anne Goetze’s art change the way you see everyday life around you? How?

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