Societas Sanctae Crucis

The Society of the Holy Cross (SSC from the Latin Societas Sanctae Crucis). We are a congregation of priests in the Anglican Church who live and minister under a Common Rule of Life.

There are over 1,000 members around the world, mainly in the UK and North America. Our members work in parishes, missions, chaplaincies, schools and other areas of pastoral ministry. They are 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. A group of 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 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.

Society of the Holy Cross

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". This Rule of Life unites the Brethren in our various priestly ministries and lives. We are required to: ‘consider our obligation to the Society as a close spiritual bond - and 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. Attendance at Chapter is of obligation unless prevented by genuine pastoral duties.

Priests of the Society are recognized by the small gold lapel cross 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 Eighth week in Ordinary Time

“In this present age a hundred times as much… and in the age to come, everlasting life”

Leo XIII, Pope from 1878 to 1903

Encyclical Rerum Novarum, 21

These [social] teachings [of the Church] could diminish the distance that pride is pleased to maintain between the rich and the poor, but simple friendship is still too little. If we obey Christianity’s precepts, union will be brought about through fraternal love. On both sides, people will know and understand that absolutely all human beings have come forth from God, their common father; that God is their common and only goal, and that God alone is able to communicate perfect and absolute happiness to angels and to human beings. In addition, all have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and restored by him to their dignity as children of God, and thus a true bond of fraternity unites them, whether this be among themselves or to Christ their Lord, who is “the first-born of many brothers.” (Rom 8:29) Finally, they will know that all the goods of nature, all the treasures of grace belong in common and indiscriminately to the whole human race, and that only those who are unworthy will be disinherited of the heavenly goods. “If you are children, you are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs with Christ.” (Rom 8:17)