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”

Love Your Neighbor


We continue our series with Part V, Chapter 6, “Examination of the Soul’s Condition as Regards Our Neighbour, from An Introduction to the Devout Life. Here Saint Francis continues our examination by considering our relationship with our neighbor.

Husband and wife are bound to love one another with a tender, abiding, restful love, and this tie stands foremost by God’s order and Will. And I say the same with respect to children and all near relations, as also friends in their respective degrees. But, generally speaking, how is it with you as concerning your neighbour? Do you love him cordially, and for God’s Sake? In order to answer this fairly, you must call to mind sundry disagreeable, annoying people, for it is in such cases that we really practise the Love of God with respect to our neighbours, and still more towards them that do us wrong, either by word or deed. Examine whether your heart is thoroughly clear as regards all such, and whether it costs you a great effort to love them. Are you quick to speak ill of your neighbours, especially of such as do not love you? Do you act unkindly in any way, directly or indirectly, towards them? A very little honest self-dealing will enable you to find this out.


Questions to ponder:

  1. St. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.” This advice immediately precedes the famous “self-emptying” passage describing Christ’s great humility and self-giving. You could almost say that this is the heart of the Gospel message. Why do you think it is so important for us to live by this? What would happen if all people regarded each other as more important than themselves?
  2. Continuing from question 1: Where in your life are you not practicing this type of humillty and self-emptying?
  3. It seems like a simple and straightforward idea that we should love our neighbor. This teaching is so common to our ears. However, why do you think this teaching is so radical? Why did Jesus make a point of emphasizing it if it might seem so obvious?

Meet Snellville Visitation Monastery’s New Superior


Mother Teresa Marie was elected and the story is below