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Br. Antony Maria OSB

I don't know the specifics of how the Franciscans do visitations, but I can speak to my own experience as a Benedictine, which might shed some light for you?

The biggest difference that I can see (simply based on how you phrased your question), is that our superior lives with us (the Abbot), and as such when we have visitations, three monks from different monasteries in our Congregation (a family tree, if you will) come in and live with us for about a week. During that time, they interview every monk of the house: they'll ask what he thinks is going well, what he thinks needs improvement, etc. At the end of the week, the three visitators will get together, compare notes, and put together two reports: one anonymous report for the whole community, and one with more specific comments by individual monks (not anonymous) that is given exclusively to the Abbot. A part of each of these reports is a number of recommendations by the visitators about what the community can do to continue to improve and live a healthier community life. After the visitators leave, the community will then get together to discuss the results of the visitation report and produce a document that describes what they will try to do to implement the changes recommended by the visitators.

My (completely uneducated) guess for your community would be that your provincial superior will come, interview the members of your community, and give a report to your local superior, after which all of you will get together to discuss it and come up with different ways of implementing your provincial superior's recommendations.

The biggest thing that I can think of in order to prepare for your visitation would be to think of things that you think are going well in your community, and things that could be improved on (constructive criticism works best here). And be honest in the interview: what your provincial superior doesn't hear about in the interviews, she's not going to know about the community since she doesn't live there full time. As such, she won't be able to make recommendations about how to improve problems that she doesn't know about.

I hope this sheds some light on the question for you, and for more specific information about Franciscan practices, ask one of your sisters who has more experience than you do. She could certainly tell you more than this crazy Benedictine! :topsy:


Br. Antony Maria

Edited by Br. Antony Maria OSB
I forgot to sign my name :P

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My friend is the president of our congregation, and she regularly visits as many of the sisters as she can (those located outside of the US may get only one visit every few years, because of expense, and because they come back to the US at least once a year for Assembly). The point is more to get to see sisters in their "natural environment," get to know more about their ministries, and to visit with them as a sister. During Assembly, for instance, there may not be time for one-on-one conversations....

Of course, if sisters have issues or concerns, this enables them to discuss them with her. Also, most people in leadership are pretty insightful, and can tell if there are tensions or other issues in a local community that they may need to address. But, assuming that there are no such issues, I'd assume this is really something you should look forward to--an opportunity to relate to your sister, and to get to know each other better. 

I would suggest praying about and thinking about whether there might be anything you'd want to talk with her about (NOT necessarily a problem), since you may not have this chance for one-on-one dialogue all that often. But I don't know how your community works--whether you can just call her or email her whenever.

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