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 Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time

"There was a great calm"

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 63 ; PL 38, 424

Christ's sleep is the symbol of a mystery. The ship's passengers represent souls traversing the life of this world on the wood of the cross. In addition, the ship is the symbol of the Church. Indeed, truly (...) the heart of each member of the faithful is a ship sailing across the sea: it cannot sink provided the spirit engages in good thoughts.

Has someone insulted you ? It is the wind beating against you. Have you become angry ? It is the swell mounting. Does temptation arise ? It is the wind blowing. Is your soul troubled ? It is waves rising up (...) Wake up Christ and let him speak to you. “Who, then, is this that even the wind and the sea obey him ?” Who is he ? “His is the sea for he has made it”; “all things were made by him” (Ps 95[94]:5; Jn 1:3). So imitate the winds and the sea: obey your Creator. The sea shows itself to be docile to Christ’s voice and do you remain deaf ? The sea obeys, the winds drop, and do you continue to blow ? What are we trying to say by this ? Speaking, getting upset, plotting revenge: isn’t this continuing to blow and not wanting to give way before Christ’s word ? When your heart is stirred up don’t allow yourself to be swamped by the waves.

If, nevertheless, the wind blows us over – for we are only human – and if it stirs up the bad feelings in our hearts, let us not despair. Let us wake up Christ so as to continue our journey on a peaceful sea.