Book published in may 2010 for the 400° anniversery of the Order of the Visitation
Four hundred years ago, on 6 June 1610, three women, guided by the bishop, accompanied by a small procession of Savoy’s people, entered a house in the faubourg Perriere in Annecy. They had decided to dedicate their lives to God. Bishop François de Sales blessed them and gave them a draft of rules. Then the front door of the gallery has been closed.
This event, which could be a simple story of the Duchy of Savoy in the seventeenth century, had a considerable impact. The commitment of Madame Chantal and her two companions begat other vocations in Annecy first, then in other cities and other countries. And always in the same spirit and the same rules.
Since then, 355 communities of the Visitation of Holy Mary was founded. With each foundation welcomed in new cities, new benefactors contributed financially, new priests accompanied them. Each time it was a new company. A human often perilous adventure experienced by religious courageous. They were soon joined by women aspiring to a life of prayer. Ready to surrender to the divine will, they wanted to share a community life isolated from the tumult of the world. For four centuries, they are nearly 80 000 visitandines to have made this choice, and many have crossed borders and oceans.
However, the Visitation remains unknown to the general public. Some are intrigued by the high walls surrounding the monasteries of this order, and few people were able to enter inside. Crossing the fence gate is like entering another world: a succession of galleries, cloisters, cells, community halls, spaces for household use. A strange world that lives with its rules and a clearly defined timetable.
There are nearly twenty years, some nones of the Visitation, which Mother Françoise-Bernadette Lara, had the intuition of a necessity to introduce as many rich artistic, historical, spiritual and ethnographic agenda . From there, the museum of the Visitation was born. It now comprises nearly 8,000 objects and responds, through its exhibitions and publications, the mission entrusted to him by the sisters. He was naturally involved in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the order.
Therefore, we propose to present to the public within a monastery image all the monasteries of the Visitation.
We hope, through this exhibition, contributing to a better understanding of life and influence of the Visitation of Holy Mary, whose origins are rooted in the history of our collective memory. We invite you, exceptionally, to enter a monastery, to discover the lives of its guests.