Georgetown Visitation Monastery

“Live Jesus whom I Love”

The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary has its roots in early seventeenth-century France. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal saw the opportunity for the creation of an order that would welcome women seeking a religious vocation in order to deepen their relationship with God.

Our Vowed Life

We, the sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary, have freely responded to a call to follow Jesus by being gathered in loving prayerful communities that are characterized by fidelity to the gospel and the church.

Our Prayer Life

Live Jesus! Prayer of the heart is the very essence of our Visitation way of life.  We strive to keep prayer at the center of all we do as we nurture the loving presence of God in our minds and hearts.

Our Community Life

We are called by God to create a prayerful and loving community where each Sister is a gift to others.  We find the source and goal of our union in the love of the heart of Jesus Christ, to whom we are consecrated in a special way.

Our History

Reflecting moderation and a well-balanced approach to religious life.

Vocations

Our vocation enables us to share in the redemptive mission of Jesus according to the inspiration of our Founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. 

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Georgetown Visitation Monastery

Vocational Ministry: The Gospel values proposed by our Founders St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal encourage us to follow Jesus - to "live Jesus!" in all we do and think and say and through each moment of the day. We are called to create a prayerful and loving community where each person is a gift to others. We find the source and goal of our union in the heart of Jesus Christ to whom we are consecrated in a special way.
Georgetown Visitation Monastery
Georgetown Visitation Monastery
St. Katharine Drexel voluntarily stepped beyond her privileged upper-class life in Philadelphia to encounter and heal the suffering she saw in America. She is the second American-born Catholic saint.

She was born 1858 to a family of wealth—her father was an investment banker, and her uncle founded Drexel University. Her mother died giving birth to Katharine’s sister, and the girls were sent to live with an aunt and uncle for two years. They returned to her father’s home when he re-married.

Despite their wealth, Katharine’s parents did not allow their girls a sheltered life. The family traveled widely, and Katharine saw much of the emerging American nation as well as Europe. Three days a week, their home was opened to feed the hungry and serve the poor with clothing and rental assistance. If they heard of a widow who was too proud to come to them, they quietly sought her out to offer their support.

When Katharine’s stepmother fell ill from a terminal illness, Katharine nursed her, and began to understand that no fortune could save a person from pain or death.

She was particularly moved by the plight of American Indians and African Americans, and on a trip to Europe, she had the chance to greet Pope Leo XIII. She asked him to send missionaries to help American Indians in Wyoming. He replied, “Why don’t you become a missionary?” This response shocked her and helped her open up new possibilities as to how to spend her life.

She very easily could have married, but after discernment and spiritual direction, she decided to dedicate her life to serving American Indian and African American people. Her decision made big news in the elite social circles of Philadelphia; newspapers wondered how she could walk away from married life and an inheritance worth more than $100 million in today's dollars—to serve poor people.

Katharine founded a religious order of nuns—the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament—to serve people marginalized by American society. They began with a boarding school in Santa Fe, and by 1942, they were running schools and mission centers for black children in thirteen states and ministering to Native Americans in fifteen states. In 1915, Katharine opened Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Roman Catholic university in the nation that accepted black students.

Segregationists were not happy with her efforts and burned a school in Pennsylvania. A stick of dynamite was discovered at another mission site. In 1922, the Ku Klux Klan threatened a school the sisters had opened in Beaumont, Texas, but a few days later, a severe thunderstorm devastated the area and tore down the Klan’s headquarters there.

When she was 77, Katharine suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Many thought the foundress was near the end of her life, but she lived for nearly two more decades. This last period of life was intensely focused on prayer and meditation.

St. Katharine Drexel was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000, and her photograph is used here with permission from Catholic.org. Along with her story, the illustration above is used by high school students who come to campus for a summer conference with the Notre Dame Vision program.

St. Katharine Drexel, who gave her great wealth to serve America's marginalized—pray for us!
Georgetown Visitation Monastery
Georgetown Visitation Monastery
Let us all make this season of Lent meaningful and fruitful, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may truly appreciate fully God’s love for us by sharing that same love with each other, to remind ourselves that God Himself is dwelling among us, and we, the members of His Church, in His great Ark, the Church, are safe and will always be well provided for, and He will guide us and not abandon us to the darkness of this world.

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide us, and may He strengthen us all during our Lenten journey and observance, so that hopefully we may come to share eventually, the eternal joy and glory with Him just as He has promised us in the Covenant He made with us and renewed through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice on the Cross. Let us all look forward to worthily celebrate this love of God at Holy Week and Easter, and make best use of this time of Lent. Amen.