Catholic Dictionary




The Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, founded in 1610 by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal. It was established for women who wished a contemplative life but under less austere conditions than those of the older orders, stressing humility, gentleness, and sisterly charity. Originally under simple vows, they became a religious order with strict enclosure in 1618, and thus were approved by Pope Paul V. Houses are relatively autonomous. The best known Visitandine was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, whose revelations helped to promote the modern devotion to the Sacred Heart. There are also several groups of Visitation Sisters, including a native Japanese community based in Yokohama.