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 Eleventh week in Ordinary Time
" I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil"
Dorotheus of Gaza (c.500-?), monk in Palestine
Discourses, no. 1, 6-8 ; SC 92 (trans. ©Classics of Western spirituality)
The Law says, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Ex 21,24), but our Lord admonishes us not only to bear patiently the blows of one who strikes us, but humbly to turn to him the other cheek. And so the object of the Law is to teach us not to do to others what we do not wish to suffer, and therefore it cuts away our wrong-doing through our fear of suffering. Now the object must be, as I am always saying, to cast away our hatred, our love of pleasure, our vainglory and the rest of our unruly desires...
Christ teaches us by his holy precepts how to be cleansed from our own passions so that we do not fall again into those same sins. Finally he shows us how we come to despise and disobey the commandments of God and adds the medicine that all may be able to obey and be saved.
What then is the medicine and what the cause of our contempt? Listen to what the Lord himself tells us: “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls” (Mt 11,29). There you have it in a nutshell: he has taught us the root and cause of all evils and also the remedy for it, leading to all good. He shows us that pretensions to superiority cast us down and that it is impossible to obtain mercy except by the contrary, that is to say, by humility. Self-elevation begets contempt and disobedience begets perdition, whereas humility begets obedience and the saving of souls. And I call that real humility which is not humble in word and outward appearance but is deeply planted in the very heart; for this is what the Lord meant when he said that “I am meek and humble of heart”. So let anyone desiring to find true humility and rest for his soul learn lowliness of mind.