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History & Tradition

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The Visitation Crescent

The story of the Visitation Crescent began on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea in the middle of the thirteenth century. The Count of Savoy was leading an army to assist the Crusaders at Rhodes. In the midst of a furious storm two shooting stars appeared over the deck of his ship. Pierre de Sales, an accomplished mariner, knew that the storm would soon cease, and the fleet of Christian forces would arrive on time to assist in the battle. As a reward for his part in the victory, Pierre was given a coat of arms with the twin stars and the gold Saracen crescent. Pierre de Sales was an ancestor of St. Francis de Sales.

Many centuries later in 1833 in Kaskaskia, Illinois, eight Visitation Sisters from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., arrived to establish a convent and school in the St. Louis Diocese. Three years later, preparing to honor one of the first students of their “Young Ladies Academy,” a sister had the inspiration to bestow on this young woman a gold crescent, taken from St. Francis de Sales’ coat of arms. This began the tradition of bestowing a gold crescent on St. Louis Visitation graduates.

A symbol of youth and promise, the crescent is a mark of approval for completing a Visitation education and a sign of hope that in the years to come the graduate will continue to mature and grow in Christian and Salesian ideals. Fifty years after graduation, an alumna receives a golden full moon as a sign of her years of growth in wisdom and grace.

Visitation Academy: Educating the Mind and Heart 1833-2008


To celebrate the 175th anniversary of Visitation Monastery and Academy in St. Louis, Sr. Marie Therese Ruthmann, V.H.M., alumna and teacher at Visitation for almost 50 years, chronicles the last 25 years (1983-2008) of the Academy's history in "Educating the Mind and Heart." 

The book continues the story of "Deep Roots and Golden Wings," by Fr. William B. Faherty, S.J., a history of people and events from the foundation of the Academy in 1833 in Kaskaskia, Illinois to the 150th anniversary of the Academy in St. Louis in 1983. This new and revised edition combines both books under one 8.5"x11", 320-page volume.  

Purchase By Mail
To purchase by mail, send your check for $45 with name, address, phone, email and number of books to Monica Barnes, Visitation Monastery, 3020 N. Ballas Rd., St. Louis, MO 63131.

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