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Monastery of the Holy Spirit

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic monastery in Conyers, Georgia belonging to the world-wide Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.) – more commonly known as Trappists.

As described in the Order's constitution, this Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of Saint Benedict. They follow in the spirit of the founders of Citeaux, as handed on in the tradition of the Order, within a community wholly oriented to a contemplative life of prayer. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence.

Currently the Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a community of forty-eight monks spanning several generations, who live, work and pray at the Abbey. They were founded from the Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, Kentucky in the spring of 1944. The Monastery is sustained through The Abbey Store, a bonsai garden, donations, a green cemetery, and retreats - among other endeavors.


Monastery of the Holy Spirit was founded on March 21, 1944 by twenty monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani. On land donated to the Catholic Church by media mogul Henry Luce, these first monks lived in a barn while they built (by themselves) what would become known as the "pine board" monastery. They then lived in this monastery while they built (by themselves) the present Monastery, a beautiful concrete structure complete with a retreat house and cloister. Some previous abbots have been Dom Bernard Johnson, Dom Basil Pennington and Dom Anthony Delisi. The present abbot is Dom Francis Michael who was elected in 2003?(not sure).


The monks at Holy Spirit operate a thriving retreat business. On the premises and adjoining the church is their dormitory style retreat house where separate floors for men and women accommodate individual and groups of guests for retreats scheduled almost year round. Guests are encouraged to stay on premises for the entire time of the retreat and observe the times for prayer and meals. Meals are served in the retreat house three times a day. Guests may pray with the monks in the Church at their regular prayer times which are announced by a quiet bell. Monastery rules require guests to adhere to silence in certain areas. Retreatants may attend group discussions led by one of the monks in the conference room. Different monks lead different discussions throughout the year according to their different areas of expertise. Retreatants are encouraged to leave a donation of at least $60-$100 per each night of their stay to help defray the cost of providing room and meals to retreatants. Reservations are encouraged as the retreat house is often booked many months in advance.

Lay Cistercians

The Lay Cistercian movement began with a small group of people associated with Monastery of the Holy Spirit and led by Fr. Anthony Delisi, former abbott and current prior. These are groups of lay people who form a prayerful community that forms its members in Cistercian spiritualty. These groups make annual retreats to the Monastery. Holy Spirit is now motherhouse to three different groups of Lay Cistercians. This movement has grown in popularity over the years and now there are Lay Cistercians all over the world who are affiliated with monasteries near their groups.


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