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 Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time
"At the preaching of Jonah they repented" (Lk 11:32)
Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on conversion preached on his return from the country, no.1 ( DDB 1978,)
Let us beware of losing all hope, but let us also avoid giving in too easily to carelessness... Despair hinders those who have fallen from getting up again and carelessness causes those who are standing to fall... If presumption casts us down from the heights of heaven, despair casts us into the infinite depths of evil, whereas a little hope is enough to hold us back...
This is how Nineveh was saved. However, the divine judgement pronounced against the Ninevites was of a nature to throw them into confusion since it did not say: “If you repent you will be saved” but simply: “Three more days and Nineveh will be destroyed” (Jon 3:4). Nevertheless, neither the Lord's threat, nor the prophet's preaching, nor even the severity of the judgement... caused their confidence to fail. God wants us to draw a lesson from this unconditional judgement,that taught by this example we may resist despair as much as passivity... Besides, divine good will does not only reveal itself in the forgiveness granted to the repentant Ninevites...: the respite granted them attests likewise to his unutterable goodness. Do you imagine that three days would have been enough to wipe out so much wickedness? God's good will is breaking out from behind these words and, besides, isn't it the principal worker of the whole city's salvation?
Let this example keep us from despairing. For the devil thinks of this form of weakness as his most successful weapon and, even when we sin, we could not give him greater pleasure than when we lose hope.