Sisters of the Visitation - Dubuque, Iowa



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Sister Mary Paschal Kelly SVM died November 1, 2009 at the infirmary of the Sisters of the Presentation the age of 101. Sr. Paschal entered the Sisters of the Visitation order in 1928 and was past moderator of the Visitation Alumnae Association


Elections were held  in January by the Sisters of the Visitation for the leadership team.  Reelected  for another term for president is Sister Patricia Clark, vice president is Sister Ruth Jackson and Director is Sister Joanne Sullivan

         Sr. Patricia Clark

In St. Luke’s story of the Visitation, Mary and Elizabeth reach out to one another. Together they attended to the new life within each of them and dreamed of what the future would be. Their loving support and service of one another stirred hope for future realities.

When St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal began the Visitation Sisters, they envisioned that women would gather in community and live “bound more by love than by vows”. These small communities of religious vowed women, living a life of humility, simplicity and gentleness, flourished and eventually approximately six of them would be asked to begin a new foundation and so the community grew. Our sisters were part of this process.

In 1871 a group of them left the St. Louis community and traveled by barge up the Mississippi to Dubuque to answer a call from the Bishop to bring religion and culture to the young women of the area. We continued to do this ministry for one hundred years.

Significant cultural changes took place in the United States beginning in the 1960s affecting the roles of women and their increasingly varied opportunities for service. These attitudes affected young women considering religious life as well. Our numbers have changed significantly in the last forty years. 

In the light of these changes, we made necessary adjustment to enable us to continue ministry with the charism of Salesian life. Consequently, we sold our large buildings to the local Catholic college and accepted the reciprocal offer of the Sisters of the Presentation. When this community first came to Dubuque they had no place to stay and so for months they stayed with our Sisters. Following the sale of our large buildings,the Presentation Sisters generously offered to allow us to purchase an acre of their land. Now we live very near their motherhouse and often share liturgy and life with them. Our new convent is a wonderful, prayerful space and we are so grateful. It is here that we worship and participate in community life together. The feasts of St. Francis de Sales, St.Jane de Chantal and St. Margaret Mary complement our celebrations of the liturgical year. Fortunately we are able to have Mass in our chapel several times a week. We include in our prayers alumnae, friends and benefactors and intentions recommended to our prayers. We are happy to have opportunities to share our space with those desiring to have some private retreat time or small groups wishing to deepen their relationship to God.

We continue to work in the fields of education and pastoral ministry. We take seriously our ministry of prayer for our families, friends, alumnae, and the needs of our Church and our world. We continue to dream, serve as we can and wait for new realities to emerge in a future filled with hope. We sincerely believe and make St. Francis de Sales’ prayer our own each day: 

“Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you the unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

We count on your prayerful support and friendship. Thank you so much for your presence in our lives.

Prayer Requests

 Each month a Mass is offered for our alumnae, living and deceased, and we include prayers for the intentions of all who request them. You may e-mail prayer requests for inclusion in our prayers by using the above link.

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