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Office at Mount de Chantal Is Now Closed

Effective August 1, 2010, the office has been closed at Mount de Chantal. Requests for copies of transcripts or arranging a paid search of the Academy archives should be pursued with staff at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (information can be found by clicking on the buttons in the Navigation Menu on the left-hand side of this page). All other requests and communication should be directed to: Sister Joanne Gonter VHM, Georgetown Visitation Monastery, 1500 35th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007-2700 Phone: 202-337-0305, E-mail:

Mount Archives now with Diocesan Archives

As of July 12th of 2010 all Mount de Chantal archives and student transcripts will be under the care of the Diocesan Archives. Please use the last two buttons on the left of this page to research these archives.
Alternately you may use the links below:
For Student Archives:
To Request Mount and Montessori Transcripts:

Sisters of the Visitation to Depart Wheeling ¡¡C Wheeling Hospital Is Exploring Purchase Options

At an Ohio County Public Library Lunch With Books program held April 13, 2010, Sister Joanne Gonter, VHM noted that the three remaining Sisters of the Visitation are leaving Wheeling Saturday, April 17th for the Georgetown Visitation Monastery. In the interim, Wheeling Hospital will provide security for the Mount property and is currently exploring how acquisition of the property could fit into the Hospital¡¯s strategic planning. For more details, see:

Sisters to Relocate to Georgetown After maintaining a presence in Wheeling, West Virginia since 1848, the remaining women religious in the Sisters of Visitation community at Mount de Chantal will be relocated to the Georgetown Visitation Monastery in Washington, D.C. The relocation has been dictated by the Vatican and is typical when a religious community grows smaller in size.

Here is a press release of December 1st with the details of this move:

Sisters of the Visitation in Wheeling Moving to Washington, D.C.

WHEELING, W.Va. - After 161 years of service to the people of the Wheeling area, five Sisters of the Visitation will be moving to Washington, D.C., to reside at the monastery at Georgetown Visitation Academy. The move is likely to take place late this winter or early next spring. "The deciding factor for this action is based in Church law relative to monastic communities with declining numbers," said Sister Mary Alicia Sours, V.H.M. "It is typical for the Vatican to move a smaller congregation like ours into the nearest monastery within the order."

Sister Mary Alicia expressed the gratitude of the sisters to the Most Reverend Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, who had applied to the Vatican on behalf of the Sisters with a proposal to keep the Sisters of the Visitation in Wheeling. "Bishop Bransfield strongly supported our desire to remain in Wheeling, but our request to Vatican officials was not approved. The decision of the Vatican is consistent with Church law; however, we were hoping to be given an exception."

With ages ranging from 75 - 83, the Sisters of the Visitation who will move to Georgetown Visitation are Sister Mary Josephine DiBiase, Sister Joanne Gonter, Sister Eleanor May Klaber, Sister Mary Alicia Sours, and Sister Mary Martha Thompson.

"While we will greatly miss our friends and alumnae in the Wheeling area, a move to a larger religious community in Washington is more suited to the monastic life we have chosen," Sister Mary Alicia said. "The convent at Georgetown Visitation is beautiful, and most importantly, we will be affiliated with a dynamic school, which was our mission in Wheeling for so many years." Mother Mary Berchmans Hannan, Superior of the Georgetown Monastery, stated that the Sisters at Georgetown have had a long standing relationship with the Sisters at Mount de Chantal and that she and the other Sisters are looking forward to receiving them into their home.

The future of the Mount de Chantal complex of six buildings with construction dates ranging from 1865 to 1982 has been and will continue to be studied by a group of expert advisors who assist the sisters. "Being listed as we are on the National Register of Historic Places does not guarantee the preservation of buildings as some would believe," said Sister Joanne Gonter, Alumnae Director of the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy.

The Sisters in Wheeling will be moving to the first Visitation monastery established in the United States. Founded in 1799, the Georgetown Visitation community sent sisters to found a convent and school in Baltimore in 1837. In 1848 eight Visitation Sisters came from Baltimore to Wheeling, Virginia, to establish their monastery and academy on April 4th. just six days later the Sisters welcomed their first pupils at the new "Wheeling Female Academy." In 1849 the Sisters started Wheeling's first parochial school, Saint joseph's Benevolent School. It was set up in the basement of the diocesan Cathedral, which was next door to the convent. The Sisters later moved to their new location on what is now Washington Avenue in 1865.

"Since the formation of the United States Second Federation of the Order of the Visitation in the 1950s, the Sisters of the Visitation in Wheeling have had many opportunities to spend time with sisters from other houses, particularly from Georgetown, and we are deeply grateful that they are also looking forward to our joining them," Sister joanne Gonter said. "We plan to maintain contact with our many friends in and beyond the Wheeling area and to enlist Wheeling area alumnae to keep alive and active an alumnae association founded in 1898 that has been such a vital sisterhood since that time."

Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy graduated its final class
On May 31, 2008, Mount de Chantal graduated its final class after 160 years of operation.

The Final Alumnae Day in Wheeling was held at Mount de Chantal on April 10, 2010. Subsequent Alumnae Days will be planned at the new Georgetown Monastery location

If you are interested in joining the Mount de Chantal Alumnae Association or need to contact Sister Gonter or any of the other the Sisters please use the following contact information:

Sister Joanne Gonter VHM
Georgetown Visitation Monastery
1500 35th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007-2700

Phone: 202-337-0305

Celebrating the Mount

(click to play any of the videos)

WV Public Broadcasting's Mount de Chantal: A History (Part 1)

WV Public Broadcasting's Mount de Chantal: A History (Part 2)

Slideshow Tribute to Mount de Chantal by Sashi Muthy (Class of 2005)

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