“For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5
In 1610 St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal founded the order of the Visitation of Holy Mary to give to God souls so interior that they may be found worthy to serve Him in spirit and in truth. Our order was established to welcome those not able to practice austerities required in other orders. Our mortification is interior: to live in profound humility before God and to act with great gentleness towards one another.
Although the Order, which is a religious institute of pontifical right began in Annecy, France (Visitation Annecy, France), it has since spread throughout the world. In 1866 Visitation Sisters from Baltimore, Maryland came to Richmond, Virginia at the request of Bishop John McGill to pray for the diocese (Catholic Diocese of Richmond, VA) and its priests. The Sisters opened an academy for girls to support themselves. However, in 1927 the community voted unanimously to close it in order to live a more contemplative life. Baking altar breads then became our main source of income.
For more than 120 years the Monastery was on Richmond’s Churchill. The book published to commemorate our 100th anniversary described it as the “Sentinel on the Hill.” Even after we relocated our community in 1987 to another little hill in Rockville, Virginia (35 miles outside of Richmond), it has not ceased to be that Sentinel. Through our contemplative life, lived in a community of charity, we continue our “watching and waiting for the Lord.” This silent testimony is our specific way of extending the Kingdom of God, of sharing in the evangelization of the world.