Visitants nuns of the visitation of Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, by Mary: the mother of Jesus, constitute an order founded by St. Francis de, Sales whence they are sometimes called Salesians in conjunction with Madame de Chant al, The first house was founded at Annecy in the spring of 61,61'0 and in Juner Sales gave the order an exceedingly simple rule. There: was to be no seclusion, no peculiarity of dress, except that its color should be black, and a black veil should cover the head, and no mortifications. They were to recite only the lesser Offcium Malarie. Their houses were all to be, subject to the diocesan bishop, and were to be open for the temporary accommodation of pious females, with a view to their spiritual advancement. A special peculiarity was enforced from the beginning, however, in the requirement that the sisters should change their rosaries, breviaries, crucifixes, etc., each year. Their duty consisted in visiting the sick and poor in imitation of Mary, who visited Elisabeth. The original form of the society was changed in 1618, under Paul V, from a congregation to a religion, and it received the name of Order of the Visitation (q.v.), with a separate rule named after Augustine. The constitutions were framed by Francis and confirmed by Urban VIII in 1626. The diocesan bishop continued to exercise, authority over the order within his see. A special garb was prescribed, of black, with white veil and black forehead-piece, and seclusion was introduced, which did away with the visitation of the sick and poor. Ascetical practices were not made more severe. The order is now extended over Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Syria, and America. It has rendered meritorious service in the instruction of the young. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop, s.v. and Jean Calas et sa Famille (Paris, 1858).

Definition of visitant

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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