Welcome to Our Community
On 29, 1954, in the Marian Year, Mother Francis de Sales Cassidy, a native of Macon, and 9 Sisters of the Toledo Monastery, left to come to Atlanta to make the foundation of the Visitation Monastery, by the invitation of Archbishop Francis Edward Hyland. They purchased the former Candler home, and modeled it into a Monastery. The monks of the Monastery of our Lady of the Holy Spirit were great benefactors to the Community. The Sisters lived in that Monastery for 20 years. By then, the Sisters numbered eighteen, and in 1971, the Community purchased a 26 1/2 acre piece of land in Gwinnett County, on the outskirts of a small town called Snellville, with approximately 400 families. The Monastery was finished in 1974. As the land was a hay field, the Sisters named it Maryfield. The Sisters commuted frequently from the Atlanta Monastery to our new property to oversee the construction, to take care of the landscape, as well as vegetable gardens for the needs of the Community. The Sisters, all the while, were continuing to bake Altar Breads for the needs of the diocese.
On October 7, 1974, Archbishop Thomas E. Donnelan blessed the Chapel and Monastery, installing Papal enclosure. The Sisters invited neighbors and friends to tour the new Monastery before enclosure was put in place. God provided us with many more benefactors.
The Sisters made many ceramic Nativity sets, as well as beautiful statues and vases. Many of our Sisters were very talented musically with the organ, guitar, zither, and autoharp, even a harmonica!
Sisters from many different countries of origin joined us, as our Community had always been international- from Cuba, Canada, Italy, Germany, the Philippines, Colombia South America, India, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, as well as Sisters from all over the US.
Through the years, many changes came to the building of the Monastery, as funds made it possible to build a complete Monastery. A Novitiate building was built in 1984; an additional wing with Chapter room, library, music room, art room, prayer room and new sewing room in 1990. The Chapel was redesigned putting the sanctuary where the front entrance had been, and giving the Sisters more space inside the enclosure. The simplicity of the Chapel is really the work of the Holy Spirit.
In 1995, we had the joy of accepting choir stalls that had been in Mary Ward’s Convent in London. Our Monastery of Stamullen, Ireland donated them to us free of charge, even as to shipping them. They are nearly 600 years old. We discovered they had been hand carved in Yorkshire, England with wood from trees that no longer exist there due to the war. There are over 180 flowers, no two alike, with 6 angels playing instruments (some of which we do not recognize), praying, or with a shield with a large S on it. The details are amazing. There are no nails in any of the stalls or kneelers!
Through the years, many Sisters came who had been very talented, with all kinds of work experience; some had been nurses, pharmacists, teachers, opera and concert singers, missionaries, accountants, librarians, beauticians, university professors, actresses on stage and TV, CPA’s, technicians, artists, insurance agents, workers for Delta airlines, housewives and mothers, and young women right out of high school.
Meet the Sisters
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