The Visitation Order was founded in 1610 in Annecy, France by Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal. Celebrating 400 years, the original founding principles of Salesian spirituality remain true today.
In 1988, after ten years of prayerful discernment, the Leadership of the Second Federation of the Visitation Order in the United States of America voted to found an urban monastic community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On October 2, 1989, four sisters were commissioned by Archbishop John R. Roach to be founding members of the new monastery for the purpose of expressing the Mystery of the Visitation in a new way—a commitment to be one with economically challenged and marginalized persons. This was the very first initiative of its kind in the United States. Prior to the Minneapolis Monastery, the Visitation Sisters in the country were affiliated with schools or monasteries without an active apostolate.
In 2014, our community of sisters celebrated the 25th anniversary of our founding; over the years our membership has increased to six sisters.
Our mission has remained constant, while the focus has shifted with varying neighborhood needs, demographic changes and emerging gifts and talents of the individual sisters. When we came to Minneapolis’ North Side, our initial outreach was toward neighborhood children. We would hang a colorful windsock on our porch six days a week to signal to the children that they were welcome to come and visit, play and pray with the sisters and one another. Over time, we expanded our ministry to families. We presently offer education sessions, such as cooking and nutrition, finance and budgeting, college preparation, etc. for neighborhood teens. We are closely connected to supporting neighborhood groups engaged in advocacy for nonviolence.
We have ongoing relationships with several agencies in our North Minneapolis neighborhood—Turning Point, a culturally specific drug treatment center for African American men, women and their families, Ascension Catholic grade school, DeLaSalle high school, Lundstrom School of Performing Arts and the Cookie Cart, a youth leadership program and retail bakery. The staff of these agencies are welcome to come for spiritual, emotional and physical renewal. We often refer people to their services as well.