Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
|Abbreviation||Order of the Annunciation (O.Ann.M.)|
|Type||Roman Catholic religious order|
The Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Latin: Ordo de Annuntiatione Beatæ Mariæ Virginis), also known as Sisters of the Annunciation, is a Roman Catholic religious order of contemplative nuns formed in honour of the Annunciation at Bourges by Saint Joan of France in 1501.
A order founded by Jeanne de Valois, daughter of Louis XI of France, and wife of the Duke of Orléans, later Louis XII of France. After the annulment of her marriage with Louis XII she retired to Bourges, where in 1501 she succeeded in founding an order in honour of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rule is entitled "The Ten Virtues of the Blessed Virgin", the imitation of which she proposed as the aim of the order. It was confirmed by Alexander VI (1501), and 8 October, 1502, the first five members received the veil, the foundress herself taking solemn vows 4 June, 1503. She died in 1505.
Franciscan Father Gabriel Nicolai, whose name was changed by Brief of Alexander VI to Gabriele Maria, was constituted Superior, and after revising the constitutions, presented them for confirmation to Leo X (1517), who placed the Order under the jurisdiction of the Order of St. Francis. Additional convents were founded, under by Father Gabriel Marie O.F.M. in Albi (1507), Béthune (1516), Brugia (1517), Rodez (1519), Bordeaux (1520), Chanteloup (1529), and Louvain (1530). Beginning in 1610, the French Provincials of the Franciscans in France conducted a reform of the female Franciscan Third Order, which established for them enclosed convents and allowed the taking perpetual vows. In this way a number of third-order communities were added to the Annunciade.
The Thirty Years’ war and proved to be a difficult period for the convents, with many of them damaged, burned, and abandoned. In May 1635, Mother Catherine de Bar, and the nuns of the convent in Bruyères were forced to flee before the Swedish army. Some nuns exhausted by hardships fell ill with the plague. Catherine de Bar found shelter with the Benedictines in Rambervillers, and went on to founded the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament.
Their present day mission as nuns, is first and foremost contemplation and giving praise to God. Hours are designated for meditation and silence. Today the Order numbers around eighty nuns living in eight convents in France, Belgium and Costa Rica. A new foundation is under way at the Marian Shrine in Licheń, Poland.
It currently has five monasteries in France and two abroad:
- Monastery of Brucourt (Calvados)
- Monastery of Thiais (Val-de-Marne)
- Monastery of Saint-Doulchard, near Bourges (Cher), since 16 June 1988 the monastery has housed 8 sisters of Thiais
- Monastery of Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne)
- Monastery of Peyruis (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), now transferred to Alajuela (Costa Rica)
- Monastery of Menton (Alpes-Maritimes) since 2000.
- Monastery of Westmalle (Belgium)
In 1517 Fr. Gabriel Maria, OFM obtained Church approval for the confraternity called the Order of Peace (Ordre de la Paix) known today as the Confraternity of the Annunciade. The Order of Peace may be joined through affiliation to one of the convents of the Annunciade.