The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then pregnant with Jesus to Saint Elizabeth, whom was then pregnant with Saint John the Baptist.
39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.
40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
The feast day was originally inserted into the Roman Calendar in 1389 when Pope Urban VI inserted it at the urging of the Archbishop of Prague John of Jenstein and as an attempt to end the Great Western Schism. Originally a Double, the Visitation became a Double of the Second Class in 1604 with Pope Clement VIII's replacement of the Missal of Pope Pius V. It continued to be celebrated on July 2nd, the day after the end of the octave following the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. In an attempt to harmonize the feast day better with the Gospel, the Feast of the Visitation was moved between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist during the 1969 revision for May 31st.
With permission of the Vatican, the Catholic church in Slovakia has retained the original date because of the National Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Visitation in Levoca that has been held in July since the 13th century.