Today is the Feast of the Visitation. It recalls Mary’s bold three-day journey to be with the aged Elizabeth who was to give birth. For many Christians this feast is a reminder of our duty to visit those in need.
It is a special day for the Visitation Sisters founded my Jane Francis de Chantal. Jane’s father was the president of the parliament of Burgundy. She with her husband, the Baron de Chantal, brought six children into the world. After the Baron was killed in a hunting accident, and Jane Francis had made fine arrangements for her children’s education, she was looking for more to do.
That something came along when she heard Francis de Sales preaching in the cathedral of Dijon. He implanted in her the idea of leading a fully devout life of service, and he agreed to exchange letters with her. What came of it was that Jane Francis gathered a group of like-minded ladies who drew up a program for visiting any and everybody in need.With aid from Francis de Sales, they applied to Rome for approval of their ministry; but what happened was that Rome was dedicated to the need for cloistered nuns striving for spiritual growth and praying for the mission of the Church. It resulted in establishing the order of Visitation nuns who were not allowed to visit. Should Mary have stayed home where she belonged?