Abbots and Abbesses of the different Cistercian congregations are at heart of the Administrative Council and meet regularly to work for the diffusion of their common culture and to ensure that it is respected. The presidency rotates. The following are represented : the Order of Citeaux (OCist) the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), the Bernardines of Esquermes, the Bernardines of Collombey (Switzerland), the lay Cistercians, those who serve as guides at Cistercian sites, historians and those people who contribute in one way or another to the radiation of Cistercian patrimony and culture.
Today the association counts about a hundred members, principally from the monasteries of Europe, but also in Canada, Morocco and Israël. Those in Africa and Madagascar also belong.
The Association gives expression to the living spirit of the french-speaking part of the Cistercian family, offering an unique opportunity for collaboration. Within ARCCIS, monks and nuns are able to pool their efforts, not primarily in their own interests, but for the common good, where others can draw on a patrimony that can give meaning to their own everyday lives.
The origins of ARCCIS go back to the years 1995 – 1996. The founding intuition was that of a lay person, Marcel Couture (d. 2002) Having discovered in the writings of the Cistercian Fathers something that gave him a new reason to live, a new source of dynamism for his being; he wished to share this experience firstly with the monasteries and then, above all, with lay people. This new type of association brings together monks and nuns of all the members of the Cistercian family and gives lay people a front line role, both as players in the Association, and also as privileged beneficiaries of its work.