1. The act of visiting, or the state of being visited; access for inspection or examination. Nothing but peace and gentle visitation. (Shak)
2. Specifically: The act of a superior or superintending officer who, in the discharge of his office, visits a corporation, college, etc, to examine into the manner in which it is conducted, and see that its laws and regulations are duly observed and executed; as, the visitation of a diocese by a bishop.
3. The object of a visit. O flowers, . . . My early visitation and my last.
4. The act of a naval commander who visits, or enters on board, a vessel belonging to another nation, for the purpose of ascertaining her character and object, but without claiming or exercising a right of searching the vessel. It is, however, usually coupled with the right of search (see under Search), visitation being used for the purpose of search.
5. Special dispensation; communication of divine favor and goodness, or, more usually, of divine wrath and vengeance; retributive calamity; retribution; judgment. What will ye do in the day of visitation? (isa. X. 3)
6. A festival in honor of the visit of the virgin Mary to Elisabeth, mother of john the Baptist, celebrated on the second of july. The order of the Visitation of Our lady, a religious community of nuns, founded at Annecy, in savoy, in 1610, and in 1808 established in the united states. In America these nuns are devoted to the education of girls.
Origin: L. Visitatio: cf. F. Visitation.