Society of the Holy Cross

Australasian Province

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

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

"By your perseverance you will secure your lives" (Lk 21:19)

Saint Maximus the Confessor (c.580-662), monk and theologian

Fourth Century on Love, nos. 16-18, 23-24 (Early Fathers from the Philokalia; trans E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer)

That person has not yet attained perfect love and profound knowledge of Divine Providence who, in time of trial, when affliction befalls, does not have magnanimity, but cuts himself off from love for the spiritual brethren. The aim of Divine Providence is to reunite by means of right faith and spiritual love those who were cut asunder and scattered by evil. It was in order to "gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad" (Jn 11:52) that the Savior suffered. So someone who refuses to bear the burden of arduous circumstances and endure sorrows or suffer pain, walks outside the love of God and the aim of Providence. If "charity is patient and kind" (1Cor 13:4), does not the person who is fainthearted in sorrows, who bears malice against those giving offense, or who severs the love due to them, fall short of the aim of Divine Providence?… They are long-suffering who await the end of the trial and receive praise for what they have endured. "Whoever is slow to wrath abounds in wisdom" (Prv 14:29 LXX); for such a one relates all that happens to the ultimate end and, in its expectation, bears all afflictions. And the end, says the Apostle, is everlasting life (cf. Rm 6:22). "And this is eternal life, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17:3).