LOVE ! LOVE! LOVE ! , MY DAUGHTERS, I KNOW NOTHING ELSE!
St. Jane de Chantal
Welcome to our Saint Jane de Chantal Gallery Community website. We hope that you will take some time to read through our web pages to get to know enough about us, so as to wish to come and pray, share and experience our monastic way of life !
Our “Gallery Community” began June 6, 2013 on the four hundred and third anniversary of the foundation of our Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. Our nascent community is a response to an inspiration of the Holy Spirit and a source of hope that our life of prayer and vocational ministry will attract young women to continue to bring the Order of the Visitation into the future for the Glory of God !
Our name comes from the familiar name our founders used in referring to our first monastery founded in Annecy, France. As history tells us, the beginning of the foundation was made in a simple house called ”La Galerie”, a “gallery” ran along one side of their new monastery and looked out over the fields that led down to the shore of Lake Annecy. This being so, Saint Jane de Chantal and her first sisters warmly referred to their first founding monastery as the “Gallery House” !
The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary was founded in Savoy, France on Trinity Sunday, June 6, 1610 by Saint Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. The little city of Annecy being the first home of the Visitation is still the resting place of the relics of our Founder and Foundress. As the foundation grew, spread and became well known, many requests came to Bishop Francis de Sales to establish more and more monasteries throughout France and other countries.
The first monastery of our Order in the United States is our Georgetown Visitation Monastery, Washington, D.C. founded by Archbishop Leonard Neale shortly after the adoption of the Constitutions of America. It practically grew up with the American Republic and its Academy was often honored by the presence of the Presidents of the United States. From this foundation flowed the foundations of the many other monasteries throughout the country.
The Monasteries of the Order of the Visitation are dedicated to a life of prayer and sacrifice in the Church for the people of God and for the glory of God. There are presently eleven monasteries of Visitation Nuns throughout the United States whose lives of prayer overflow into ministry in various ways.
In founding the Visitation Order, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal wished to offer to women of their day an opportunity to consecrate their lives to God by embracing a fervent life of poverty, chastity and obedience in a loving community. They developed the Visitation Way of life which emphasized interior transformation into growing more and more each day into the image of our Savior, rather than external austerities that were prevalent in religious orders during their time. Knowing so well the unconditional love of God, the Founders wished the sisters to form a community of love in which they would embrace fidelity to the two-fold commandment of love of God and love of neighbor, faithfully living the Constitutions and Spiritual Directory of their Order and lovingly practicing their CHARISM of profound humility toward God and great gentleness toward the neighbor.