Society of the Holy Cross
Societas Sanctae Crucis
The Society of the Holy Cross - or SSC from the Latin Societas Sanctae Crucis - is a Congregation of priests in the Anglican Communion, who live and minister under a common Rule of Life.
There are currently over 1,000 members around the world, mainly in the UK and North America, in parishes, missions, chaplaincies, schools and other areas of pastoral ministry, committed to witnessing to the Cross of Christ by their lives and ministry. The Society has a number of members here in Australasia.
The Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) was founded in London in 1855 by a small group of Anglo-Catholic priests led by Father Charles Lowder.
At a time when the Catholic Revival in the Church of England was threatened by persecution and misunderstanding, these priests came together for support, mutual prayer and encouragement. Fr Lowder spelled out the objects of SSC: "To defend and strengthen the spiritual life of the clergy, to defend the faith of the Church, and to carry on and aid Mission work both at home and abroad".
The members of this society, meeting together as they did in prayer and conference, were deeply impressed with the evils existing in the Church, and saw also, in the remedies adopted by St Vincent de Paul, the hope of lessening them.
Priests of the Society live under a common Rule of Life, and meet together in their local SSC Chapters every month or two for prayer, Mass, and some kind of study or conversation. Presiding over the Society worldwide is a Master-General who has a special responsibility to ensure an on-going fidelity among the Brethren to the spirit of the Society.
SSC is not a devotional guild, but takes its stance upon a shared vision of : “a disciplined priestly life fashioned after a definite spiritual rule.” It is this Rule of Life which unites the Brethren in their various priestly ministries and lives. They are required to: ‘consider their obligation to the Society as a close spiritual bond...which takes precedence to that of any other voluntary society.’
This obligation includes a commitment to attend local SSC Chapter meetings and annual Regional and Provincial Synods. The life of the Society is experienced primarily through the local Chapter, and attendance at Chapter is of obligation unless prevented by genuine pastoral duties.
Priests of the Society can be recognized by the small gold lapel cross that they generally wear. On it is inscribed the motto of the Society - in hoc signo vinces - in this sign, conquer!
In Hoc Signo Vinces
In this Sign Conquer
Tuesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time
"Come, follow me"
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr
Against the heresies, IV, 14,1 ; SC 100
Abraham became “the friend of God” (Jam 2,23) because he freely and generously followed the Word of God, his call. It was not due to any lack on his part that God's Word gained Abraham's friendship. He is perfect from the beginning; “Before Abraham was, I am” (Jn 5,58). But it was that he, who is good, might give Abraham eternal life... Likewise, in the beginning, it was not because he had any need of man that God formed Adam but that he might have someone on whom to bestow his blessings.
Still less was it because he needed our service that he commanded us to follow him, but to win salvation for us. For to follow our Savior is to have a share in his salvation just as following the light is to participate in the light. When we stand in the light it is not we who illumine the light and cause it to shine but we are illuminated and made shining by the light... God grants his blessings on those who serve him because they are serving him and on those who follow him because they are following him, but he receives no blessing from them because he is perfect and without need.
If God asks for our service it is that he who is good and merciful might bestow his blessings on those who persevere in his service. Because, if God has no need of anything, yet we have need of communion with God. The glory of man is to persevere in the service of God. That is why our Lord said to his disciples: “You did not choose me, it was I who chose you” (Jn 15,16), thus indicating that... for having followed the Son of God they had been glorified by him: “Father, I will that where I am they also may be, that they may see my glory” (Jn 17,24).