St Francis de Sales founded the Order of the Visitation in response to a need of the time, namely to provide a full religious life not only for young and healthy women, but also for those not strong enough for the great corporal austerities obligatory in the older Orders of the Church. He chose the title of the Visitation because that mystery was less honoured in the Church, and the joy and charity of our Blessed Lady was the spirit he desired for the Sisters.
St Francis wished to give to the Church 'daughters of prayer' and being especially devoted to Our Lady, they, in the beginning recited the Office of the Blessed Virgin. However, since Vatican II the nuns now have the Divine Office.
The Order is contemplative, and has a strong family spirit. The postulancy lasts at least 6 months, the novitiate 2 years; the novice then makes vows for a period of 3 years, at the expiration of which she makes a Solemn Profession.
As regards the Sisters' prayer life, each follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit. On-going formation is cared for by means of conferences, tapes and a good library. Genuine relaxation is provided by two daily periods of recreation.
St Francis de Sales wanted his daughters to receive into their convents, ladies wishing to make a retreat within the enclosure: the Fathers of Vatican II realised the good that this would bring to souls and encouraged it. So, today, we share our monastic silence with students and professional women, Sisters of active Orders and busy housewives.
Monastery of the Visitation,
Tel: 01435 812619