More on Visitation’s General Assembly

What is the future for contemplative nuns?
Visitandines from around the world gathered at the General Assembly of the House of the Diocese of Annecy. Heart of their reflection: how to live their mission in this changing world? Listen to the program hosted by Vanessa Sansone on RCF Haute-Savoie, and see the report broadcast on France 3.

The Order of the Visitation was founded in 1610 by Saint-François de Sales and Saint Jeanne de Chantal. Four women started the adventure. Today there are two thousand, in one hundred and fifty monasteries, on four continents.
Their daily life: prayer, spiritual study, offices, work. Days spent in silence, except during times of recreation. “Our deep mission: the search for the face of God,” said Sister Maria Silvia, representative of nine monasteries in South America.

Behind their enclosure, the nuns are connected to the world. The Order accepts widows and late vocations. Some Visitandines are mothers or grandmothers, they have had a professional life. Once they return to the community, they carry the intentions of prayers of their contemporaries, they read the press. Some monasteries welcome retreatants, other nuns witness for groups of young people.

“Many people come to see us to learn to pray”

“The world has changed considerably since our last General Assembly, more than twenty years ago, and we must find ways to update our mission,” explains Mother Marie-Thérèse, Superior of the Visitation of Annecy. “The world needs God, men ask deep questions, and many people also come to see us to learn to pray,” says Sister Maria Silvia.
It remains to be seen how best to reach their contemporaries. With this  in mind: the spirit of Saint-François de Sales to share. A Saint with the message still very current. With its famous motto: “Everything by Love, nothing by force”.

Concretely, the Visitandines must also act as a guide,  on the question of vocations, or on the closure and foundation of monasteries.
“All contemplative religious communities will one day encounter these challenges. When one goes through centuries of fidelity, it is normal to take stock”, underlines Father Bernard Podvin, moderator of the General Assembly. The conclusions of this Assembly will not be the end of a work, but rather a new beginning together.

The General Assembly of the Order of the Visitation
The monasteries of the Order are autonomous, but united. Annecy, the founding place of the Order, is “the source”: it is the Mother Superior of the Visitation of Annecy who convenes the General Assembly.
53 Visitandines from around the world participated, including:
– 17 delegates
– 17 presidents of federations
– 19 religious who prepare liturgies, provide translations, etc.
All the monasteries prepared  for these ten days of assembly, by answering a questionnaire
Theme of this meeting: “Let’s drink at the same source, together on a road of Hope”

One Response to “More on Visitation’s General Assembly”

  1. Ruth Cassin says:

    Thanks for filling us in a little on the General Assembly. You mention the questions addressed at Annecy but do not say much about the direction of the answers. But then I have not yet taken time to listen to the linked radio program and attempt to translate the text. (My French is very rudimentary.)

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