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
Monday of the Fifth week of Lent
“Though he was in the form of God (…) he emptied himself and took the form of a slave” (Phil 2:6-7)
Isaac of Stella (?-c.1171), Cistercian monk
The Lord Jesus, the Savior of all, “made himself all things to all men” (1 Cor 9:22) in such a way that he revealed himself as being smaller than the small, he who was greater than the great. To save a soul who was surprised in adultery and accused by the demons, he lowered himself to the point of writing on the ground with his finger (…). He himself is the holy and sublime ladder that the traveler Jacob saw in his sleep (Gen 28:12) (…), the ladder that was set up from the earth to God and that God held out to the earth. When he wants, he goes up to God. Sometimes he is accompanied by a few people (…) and sometimes no one can follow him. And when he wants, he joins the crowd (…), he heals lepers, eats with publicans and sinners (…), touches the sick to heal them.
Blessed is the soul that can follow the Lord Jesus wherever he goes, going up to the rest of contemplation (…) and on the other hand, coming down by the practice of charity, following him to the point of lowering itself in service, of loving poverty, of bearing with (…) fatigue, work, tears, prayer, and finally compassion and the passion. For he came in order to obey even to death, to serve and not to be served, not to give gold or silver but his teaching and his help to the many, his life for the many (Mk 10:45) (…)
So, brethren, may this be the model for your life: (…) to follow Christ by going up to the Father, (…) to follow Christ by going down to your neighbor, refusing no practice of charity, making yourselves all things to all persons.