Since 1799, when Visitation’s founders began teaching math and grammar to young, poor girls out of a small house on 35th Street, the Sisters have been pioneers in women’s education. From the very beginning, the Sisters saw the need to provide girls with a robust and well-rounded academic education, while also equipping them with an unwavering faith foundation rooted in their gentle, loving Salesian Spirituality.
Just 30 years after starting the school, the Sisters were able to replace the humble little school house with a large brick Academy Building. Here, they taught a cutting-edge curriculum, including science classes that utilized the very latest equipment from Paris. These scientific tools were so modern that the leaders at then-all-male Georgetown University asked to borrow them for their own students.
In 1919, again, seeing the needs of their students and young women as a whole at that time, the Sisters opened the Junior College. Three years later, they built Fennessey, a dormitory so that we could accept boarding students. Then in 1935 with the help of alumnae, the Sisters were able to raise $50,000 to build a gym.
Understanding the need for financial stability and steady funds for scholarship, faculty and staff salaries, and professional development, the Sisters sold land in 1978 in order to start an endowment. Because of them and their vision, our school now is blessed with financial stability and strength.
In 1993, after a fire swept through the main school building, destroying classrooms and offices, the Sisters rallied the entire Visitation community to help not only rebuild the school, but evolve its facilities so its students could flourish in the 21st century. By 1998, the Sisters had rebuilt the fire-ravaged building (now called Founders Hall), constructed a new gym, and converted the former gym into a pristine performing arts center.
These are just a few poignant examples of the Sisters’ visionary leadership over the centuries.
Today, they join us in planning the ways we will again evolve to better address today’s and tomorrow’s needs. A Cherished Past, A Vibrant Future takes inspiration and strength from our previous forward-thinking projects and advancements. It preserves the best of what’s already here, while moving it into the future for a new generation of Visitation students.