Catholic Pocket Dictionary – Order of the Visitation


This order was founded at Annecy in 1610 by the holy widow Jane Frances, Mme. de Chantal (who was canonized in 1767), under the direction of Saint Francis de Sales, then bishop of Geneva. It was designed by the bishop to be open to widows and ladies of weak health as well as to the young and robust; hence but few corporal austerities were required by the rule, and at first there was no enclosure, so that the religious could freely visit the sick and needy in their own homes. On the other hand, the employment of time and the regulation of the thoughts were provided for in the rule with great minuteness. Saint Francis did not wish the religious to be exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishops, and therefore he would not consent to the appointment of a superior for the whole order. The rule of enclosure was adopted in 1618. Many houses of “Visitandines” so these nuns are called in France, soon arose, and have ever been conspicuous for the order, harmony, and piety which reigned in them. Venerable Marie Marguerite d’Alacoque, so well known in connection with the devotion to the Sacred Heart, belonged to this order.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “Order of the Visitation”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 27 February 2021. <>