The Lay Associates Community of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit was founded in 1987 by five people, Jacqueline Rychilicki, Linda Boland, Brenda Griffin, Patricia Burke, and William Knouse who came together under the direction of two Cistercian monks of Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, Dom Augustine Moore and Father Anthony Delisi. The group chose the name Associate Oblates of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit.
This small community spent two and a half years in formation and in the Abbey Church on March 25, 1990 made their promises, which were accepted by the abbot of the monastery, Dom Armand Veilleux. The Community developed an initial set of Statutes, guided by the Code of Canon Law [sections 298-329]; the charism of the Cistercian Order; the practices of other secular contemplative communities and the vision of the founders. In the year 2000, by unanimous vote, the community elected to change its name to the Lay Associates of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit. In the year 2001, the community extensively reviewed and revised these statutes incorporating aspects of "Bond of Charity for Lay Associates Groups" which was compiled by the Lay Associates communities from around the United States at a meeting held at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Genesee on October 17, 1999.
Lay Associates of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit are engaged in ongoing dialogue with other Lay Associates communities all over the world. The fourth international meeting of these groups was held in 2008 in Huerta, Spain. In 1998, Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II acknowledged the existence of Lay Associates in the context of a letter written to the Cistercian Order commemorating the 900th anniversary year of the founding of Citeaux. At the 2008 OSCO General Assembly of all abbots and abbesses, formal recognition of the Lay Associates communities was sought and granted.
We are deeply grateful for the prayers, spiritual guidance and hospitality that we receive from the monastic community of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit.