Monday, January 18, 2010

Visitation of Holy Mary of Philidelphia

Visitation of Holy Mary of Philadelphia (Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary)

Founded: 1610 - I do not know when this particular monastery in Philadelphia was opened. 

Contemplative; Cloistered
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Visitation monasteries are autonomous, like many of the Carmelite monasteries I write about. These particular ladies are a member of the First Federation of United States monasteries, all of whom observe papal enclosure with solemn vows, and have retained the traditional habit of the Order.

Physical austerity is minimal to pave the way for those who would not be able to practice it. However, sufficient health for following the Rule is required. St. Francis de Sales’s masterpieces: Introduction to a Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God clearly explain the spirit of the Visitation, which is one of humility toward God and gentleness toward one’s neighbor.

This Salesian spirit emphasizes doing God’s will at each present moment, showing cordiality to all persons, focusing simply on God while at the same time observing that moderation, which is the golden mean of virtue. It is a spirit of great balance, very much like the way of our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, nothing showy, just solid perfection. As St. Francis de Sales said once, if there were any way of greater perfection, he would have given it to us.

Individual vocation retreats are tailored to the seeker's needs, and are for different amounts of time.

The Visitation order is almost unique, in that one may be a novice at an "advanced age", and this has been part of their tradition. However, it is up to each group to make these decisions individually.

This community is faithful to the magisterium, make mention of it several times, and you can assume this is a serious intent on their part.

5:30 - Rise, followed by an hour’s mental prayer
7:00 - Morning Prayer Office, followed by Holy Mass, Thanksgiving and Breakfast
9:00 - Office of Readings, followed by work
12:00 - dinner and recreation
2:00 - Daytime Prayer Office, followed by work or rest
3:00 - spiritual reading
5:00 - Evening Prayer Office, followed by half an hour’s mental prayer
6:00 - supper and recreation
8:15 - Night Prayer Office, after which optional reading, writing, etc.
10:00 - Retiring or earlier if desired

Apostolates: Prayer

Spirituality: St. Francis de Sales; St. Jane de Chantal; St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (image at right)

Devotions: Traditional Habit, Divine Office (sung in choir), spiritual reading (1/2 hour daily), mental prayer (1 1/2 hour daily), Silence except in recreation, Sacred Heart of Jesus (First Friday devotions)

Ages upon entrance: 18+ - Choir Nun and Extern Nuns
Belated vocations? No upper limit, although they must seek balance in their decisions for the continuation of the community
Aspirants may go into the choir for a vocation retreat.

# professed nuns: No real idea. Certainly more than 10.

Vocation Directress
Monastery of the Visitation

5820 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Email:  VisitationPhiladelphia
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