Our History, founded in 1884


The Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross


Emily Morgan and Adelyn Howard shared a deep bond. Together, they dreamed of a group of women united in prayer and companionship. Adelyn, an invalid, wanted spiritual companionship so she could help those in need by praying for them. The prayers also would support those who minister to people in need.

Inspired by Adelyn, Emily took action. She wrote, “In the early winter of 1884, I talked over the matter of such a society with Harriet Hastings…Later in the spring, we asked the first Companions to join us…The Society was organized, and…was started on the Feast of the Invention of the Cross, a lovely day in May, full of apple-blossom odors, when the world breathed of springtime and new life.”

“We pass from prayer into action for others, which, done with our Lord, may become sustained prayer and the gift of the human touch in relation to all our work of bringing happiness and release into other lives.”
– Emily Morgan, Letters to her Companions, 1926

Under Emily’s leadership, seven women became Companions. They agreed to live their lives under a rule of prayer, thanksgiving and simplicity of life. The women chose a prayer for daily use. They created the first Intercession Paper (IP), a document organized around a daily cycle of prayers. Today, the IP continues to be written each month to guide Companions in their prayer life.

Over the next 10 years, Companions met regularly through chapters in New York, Hartford, Philadelphia and Boston and grew to 100 Companions. Renowned Christian socialist Vida Dutton Scudder helped to shape the ministries of Companions as Companion-in-Charge of Probationers for 35 years.

Companions meet regularly
Adelynrood, a summer retreat for Companions in Byfield, Massachusetts

By 1914, construction was complete on Adelynrood, a summer retreat for Companions in Byfield, Massachusetts. With libraries and places to pray nestled throughout the building and its quiet gardens, Adelynrood gave Companions a place to enjoy community life while growing spiritually. Today, Adelynrood is the Companions’ retreat and conference center. It hosts some public events and an annual Companion-only conference. Companions design and lead many programs that draw speakers such as the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.