Visitation: Popular Catholic Word

by Sister Julie Ann on February 7, 2009

Some words have several meanings. While sentences determine the meaning of words, people and  events determine the popular usage of specific words. ‘Visitation’ seems to be a currently recurring Church expression.

visit_angelico.jpg Here are a few purely ‘Catholic’ examples:

Example 1

The ‘Visitation’ is one of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (Note picture of Jesus’ Mother Mary embracing her cousin Elizabeth).

Example 2

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have ‘visitation’ every year. Typically completed by the end of February, it is part of an on-going dialogue in living the vow of obedience.  Sister Louise Hembrecht, OSF, Community Director, or another member of the General Administration, schedules a few days for some one on one conversations and a group discussion with an entire local community of Sisters in their geographical location.

The purpose is to: maintain a shared vision among the Sisters, encourage each other in living faithfully the vows, give an occasion to express concerns and needs, and see the Sisters in their living and working situations.  This ‘visitation’ keeps the Franciscan spirit vibrant.

Example 3

A January 29, 2009 Origins magazine headline read: “Report on the Vatican Visitation of U.S. Seminaries”. Here teams of three or four U.S. Cardinals and U.S. Bishops with top Vatican officials traveled to seminaries and formation houses in 2006-2006 to pay special attention to the quality of the seminarians’ human, spiritual and intellectual development.  The ‘visitation’ report affirmed the strength of the people/programs involved and offered recommendations for inprovement.

Example 4

On January 30, 2009, The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) received a letter from Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, announcing an Apostolic Visitation of the principal Religious Institutes of Women in the United States.

In this context ‘visitation is defined as ‘a formal but personal meeting with the superiors and members of a religious community which offers an opportunity to comment on various aspects of community and religious life”. Sister Louise, Community Director of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity,  has already made contact with Sister Eva Maria Ackerman, OSF, the official spokesperson for the appointed apostolic visitator Mother Mary Clare Millea, superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Mother Clare is not new to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. She spent a few days at the Manitowoc Motherhouse on another occasion in 2003. At that time she was in leadership for the U.S. province of her Congregation.

Can you give other examples of the use of the word  ‘visitation’?

8 thoughts on “Visitation: Popular Catholic Word”

  1. Thank you for all the examples of “visitation.” When I sense the closeness of someone who is deceased, I sense a “visitation” from them comforting me or nudging me to take certain action. Sometimes in prayer there is an urge to call/email someone and I could name that a “visitation” from the Holy Spirit. Some people are frightened by these types of visitations but, from conversations I have in spiritual direction, I think they are more common than we think.
    I’m hoping to hear examples from others.

  2. Along the same line, St. Francis was very comfortable with ‘a visitation of the Lord’. In these instances he may converse out loud, water the place with tears or ‘would draw all his attention and affection toward the one thing he asked of the Lord, not so much praying as becoming totally prayer’.

  3. Sr. Delores Wisnicky says:

    Visitation is a powerful word. Thank you for the examples so far. I had an urging yesterday to go to school early. I was going to a funeral later in the morning, so I had extra time. I walk into school and we had ceiling tiles down and water in several places in our school. I called our principal, so he could get help. I got buckets out, a mop and signs. God visits us in many ways.
    I’ve had other visitations when a person comes to mind, I pray for them or give them a call. Or I will get a call from them. God uses many avenues to touch our lives. I pray I am open to all of them.

  4. I found myself thinking about Our Blessed Mother’s visitation to Bernadette today as we celebrated Our Lady of Lourdes! The blessings of Mary’s visitation have been so manifold; yet the confusion and suffering Bernadette went through was very real. I admire Bernadette for her faith and trust in Mary! Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for us.

  5. The Holy Spirit “visited” our Busy Man’s Retreat last evening. 16 men gathered to share their blessings and what blocks awareness of blessings. The Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh is just a perfect setting for daytime or evening retreats.

    Come, Holy Spirit, visit us often and keep us sensitive to your visits.

  6. We had many “visitations” of the Holy Spirit yesterday (Saturday, Feb. 14) as 17 of us gathered at the Motherhouse to study the enneagram and how we could grow spiritually. We began with a Valentine Prayer Service and had many moments to share our emotional and spiritual growth. We ranged in age from our postulant, Pam, to some of our 80 year olds and the exchange was humorous, lively and life giving. It was a great day!

  7. Sister Rosangela says:

    We had a “Visitation” by Sister Louise here at the college on February 8th. She enlightened us in many ways about Chiara Convent and our move there. Then in the afternoon we “visited” our new convent and were given a tour through all the floors. I’m sure after we are moved in and settled our Sisters will all want to come and “visit” and see for themselves what a wonderful convent we have to live in.

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