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 or Annonciades, 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), Bruges (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 Annonciade.
The Thirty Years’ war 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.
Prior to the French Revolution, there were 45 Annonciade convents, mostly in France and Belgium. The French houses were suppressed during the turmoil. Three sisters from the Villeneuve-sur-Lot convent were martyred.
Fleeing restrictions on and persecution of religious orders during the Third Republic, a convent existed at Saint Margaret’s Bay (Kent, England) from 1903 until 1976. A photograph of the facility appears on St Margaret's Village Archive website.
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 seven convents in France, Belgium and Costa Rica. A new foundation is under way at the Marian Shrine in Licheń, Poland.
The Order currently (2015) has four convents in France and one each in Belgium, Costa Rica, and Poland:
- Monastère de l’Annonciade, located at Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne), France was re-established in 1863 on the site of an convent Annonciade convent established in 1624.
- Monastère de l’Annonciade, located at 38, rue J. -F. Marmontel, Thiais (Val-de-Marne), France established in 1926  This convent publishes much of the literature produced by this order and serves as its central archives.
- Monasterium Magnificat, at Westmalle, Belgium established in 1965 by merging Tirlemont (1629), Geel (1853), and Merksem (1898), three smaller convents existing in Flanders.
- Monastère de l’Annonciade, located at Brucourt (Calvados), France established in 1975 by six sisters from Thiais. On October 8, 2014, the cornerstone for a new convent for these sisters was laid at Caen-Grentheville (Calvados), France.
- Monastère de l’Annonciade, located at Peyruis (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), France established in 1980 and transferred in April 2007 to Alajuela, Costa Rica and current known by the Spanish name "Monasterio de la Anunciada" 
- Monastère de l'Annonciade, located at Saint-Doulchard, near Bourges (Cher), France established on 16 June 1988 by eight sisters from Thiais
- Monastery of Menton (Alpes-Maritimes), France was established in 2000 but closed in 2012 
- Grablin Forest, Poland convent. While their convent was being built, the sisters resided at the Licheń Shrine established in 2009, although the order had had a presence in Poland since the 1970s.
Although in French "le couvent" is the word for convent, the official website uses the term "Monastère" in the title of the various houses.
the Confraternity of the Annunciade
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.
- Rudge, F.M. "The Orders of the Annunciation." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 18 Aug. 2014
- Mother Mary of Christ, OVM, "Historical Brief", the Annunciade
- Liste des monastères
- THE CONVENT OF THE ANNONCIADE, THE DROVEWAY, St Margaret's Village Archive.
- "The Nuns of the Annunciade", The Annunciade
- Bibliographie de l’Ordre de la Vierge Marie
- THE ANNUNCIADES IN POLAND
- RYS HISTORYCZNY (in Polish)
- Official site of the Order of the Annunciation
- Text of the original 1517 Rule in Latin and English
- The Annonciade website in English French, Polish, and Spanish
- Les Annonciades, à l’école de sainte Jeanne de France (1:13) in French from Kto La chaîne KTO, télévision catholique
- Polish Annonciade convent website (in English)
- The Rule of the Ten Evangelical Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary (35 pdfs)
- YouTube Channel Marie Noviciat featuring videos on this order
- YouTube Channel for l'Ordre de l'Annonciade