Two years ago the Superior of Brooklyn Visitation Monastery was given a gift to make her annual retreat at our Founding Monastery of the Visitation in Annecy, France. She finally “opened” the gift this past July 9-18, 2016 and what a blessing it was!
Set atop a very high hill next to the Basilica of the Visitation, the Monastery overlooks a large portion of the city of Annecy and the blue depths of the Lake of Annecy, dotted with sailboats, paddleboats and swimmers, encircled by the majestic foothills of the Alps.
The presence of God both within the monastic walls and outdoors among His unmatched Creation, is so palpable.
To realize that our revered Founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal, Holy Father and Holy Mother, looked upon the same scenes and were inspired by them, only added to the beauty and poignancy of this retreat.
During the days there Mother was privileged to live among our Visitation Sisters, and the spirit of the community was like a gently lapping wave spreading a peaceful joy amidst the retreat.
The Sisters live an authentic monastic life and their days are full! On some evenings when Mother shared recreation with them, the laughter was contagious, even though she did not always understand the humor because of their charming French and her weakness in the language.
Mother was also blessed to visit the tombs of our Holy Founders within the Basilica and walk though the Holy Doors of Mercy positioned there for this special year.
The morning begins with the melodious sound of wake-up chimes at 5 minutes to 6 Am and ring again at 6A and 620A as the Sisters begin their morning meditation.
Mass in the little chapel follows and laity are ushered in to the Sisters’ Chapel for Mass and Morning prayer, and then ushered out.
Petite-dejeuner or breakfast follows, silently, in the refectory, and then work begins, until the other hours of prayer, meals and recreation.
Please pray for this gentle community as they continue to live out the Salesian charism of our Order.