Last January we began our 400th Anniversary year complete with special Masses, celebrations, gatherings, pilgrimages, a decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary granting plenary indulgences, and untold graces for many who shared in this celebration. Although the jubilee year *technically* ended on Sunday 12 December, the anniversary of the death of St. Jane de Chantal, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is personally closing the jubilee with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday 14 December. By the time most patrons of our blog read this, he will have celebrated Mass for the community of Visitation sisters who are living in Vatican city as part of the jubilee celebration.
Below is an excerpt from an English translation of the Pope's letter to the Superior of our Monastery of Annecy and entire Order, worldwide:
"During this year when the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary is celebrating the fourth centenary of its foundation, I am happy to unite myself in thought and in prayer with the Visitation nuns throughout the world who are living a life of prayer and work in the spirit given to them by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal. . . . At the heart of the spirituality of the Visitation of Holy Mary is the seeking of holiness in one's daily occupations through gentleness and humility, simplicity and peace of heart and by doing 'all through love, nothing through constraint.' . . . This heritage given to you by your Holy Founders contains great significance for today's world where men and women feel more and more burdened as they cope with the crushing weight of self-fulfillment at any cost and with the hedonism which makes everyone, especially our young people, fragile and without defense. . . . Confiding to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to that of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal, I send to each community, to each sister, and to all the persons who are in spiritual relation with you, a most cordial apostolic blessing."