True Devotion to the Holy Spirit
Claude Poullart des Places and his early associates were devoted to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, titling their community to be "of the Holy Spirit". Spelled out in the first of the 263 Rules, it says: 'All shall be particularly devoted to the Holy Spirit to whom they have been consecrated in a special way.' In fact, if all the teaching of St. Grignion de Montfort (Claude's more widely known boyhood friend and lifelong collaborator) is often called True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that of the Spiritan Founder might be summed up in True Devotion to the Holy Spirit.
During the period of the Church in France in which he lived, Claude saw a crying need for doctrinal clarity about the fundamental truths of the Christian Faith. He called for faithful adherence at all times to its teaching authority (Rule 54). At the same time, he saw that all these abstract statements of the Great Church Councils (e.g. Trent) would remain dead letters incapable of renewing the face of the earth unless the Holy Spirit enlightened the minds of the faithful and enkindled in them the fire of God's love. This was why for Claude the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (especially Wisdom, so different from that of the world) and the Fruits of the Spirit (especially Joy, so different from the dour asceticism of the Jansenists) were so important.
Devotion to the Blessed Trinity
For Claude, the central mystery of the Christian Faith was Christ's revelation of the inner Life of God, Abba Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so different from the Unmoved Mover of the philosophers. Following from this came humanity's privilege - a sharing in this divine life through the Holy Spirit, the soul of all apostolate and the heart of every Christian community. No wonder, then, that for Claude, devotion to the Holy Spirit was no once-in-a-lifetime prayer formula. It was a profound, all embracing, lifelong covenant. All this Claude spelled out in his great Prayer to the Holy Trinity, in his Morning Prayer that began with the Veni Sancte Spiritus, and in his choice of Pentecost Sunday as the founding date for his Society.
This Devotion to the Holy Spirit rapidly became the identifying charism of Claude's religious family so much so that even in 1848, when it was amalgamated with that of Francis Libermann, the twinned society continued to be called officially and popularly The Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
by Michael J. Troy C.S.S.p, From Spiritan Missionary News, Volume 27, No. 1 - February 2003