By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff writer | Published June 10, 2016
CONYERS—On the feast of Corpus Christi, May 29, the monks of the Monastery of Holy Spirit elected Father Augustine Myslinski, OCSO, as their new abbot.
The community elected Father Myslinski to serve as the eighth abbot of the monastery for a six-year term of office.
Abbot Stanislaus Gumula, OCSO, of the sister monastery Mepkin Abbey of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, presided at the election. The Abbot General of the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance in Rome confirmed the election.
As is the monastic custom, Abbot Augustine, 57, began his new role immediately after being officially installed with the brothers pledging their vows of obedience to their new religious superior and spiritual leader.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Father Augustine is one of three children; his father worked in the food industry and his mother as a secretary. In 1970, a job transfer for his late father, Lawrence, plucked the family out of the Windy City. Father Augustine was 11 years old when the family moved to Stone Mountain. He attended Corpus Christi Church, just as the parish was establishing itself. His mother, Consuela, now lives in Suwanee.
Father Augustine attended Clarkston High School in DeKalb County and graduated in 1976. He attended DeKalb College from 1976-1978. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at The Pontifical College in Josephinum, Ohio. After college, Father Myslinski studied for three years at the St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Florida considering the diocesan priesthood. There, he earned a master’s degree in divinity.
While his classmates were being ordained as deacons in 1984, Father Augustine felt that he was not going in the right direction and so he left the seminary. He almost immediately felt his vocational calling was to the monastery, a place he visited as a young man. Eventually, he explored this vocational calling to the monastic life.
Drawn to Cistercian life, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, 1999, Father Augustine joined the community of monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. After several years of formation, he professed solemn vows as a religious brother in December 2005.
He discerned a further call to the priesthood within the monastery community. On April 30, 2011, Bishop Luis R. Zarama ordained him to the priesthood.
Father Myslinski has been a member of Holy Spirit monastic community for 16 years, faithfully serving the community in a number of capacities, including assistant novice master, sub-prior, the cellarer or business manager, and most recently as prior, the second superior.
The election ended the term of office of Abbot Francis Michael Stiteler, OCSO, who served the community with loving pastoral care for the last 13 years during a time of physical and spiritual renewal. With the election and installation, Father Francis became Holy Spirit’s abbot emeritus. Following a sabbatical for rest and renewal, Father Francis
will continue to serve the abbey in new ways.
The official liturgical abbatial blessing of Abbot Augustine Myslinski will take place in the Abbey Church at a date to be announced. This public liturgical rite will be presided over by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.
In 1944, 21 Trappist monks departed Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to found a monastery in the wilderness of rural Georgia. They arrived in Conyers with the desire to form a new community devoted to God’s word.
Together they built the magnificent Abbey Church that took 15 years to complete, as well as many of the other buildings that stand on the grounds today.