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

Monday of the Third week of Easter

"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent"

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), hermit and missionary in the Sahara

Retreat Notes, Nazareth, November 1897

The senses are full of curiosity; faith is content to know nothing, it (…) longs to pass its life motionless before the Tabernacle. The senses love riches and honor; faith holds them in horror (…) “Blessed are the poor” (Mt 5:3). It adores the poverty and lowliness with which Jesus covered his life as though with a garment that he never cast off (…) The senses take fright at that which they call danger, at all that might mean pain or death; but faith is afraid of nothing; it knows nothing can happen to it but what is the will of God: “I have counted every hair of your head” (Mt 10:30) and whatever God wishes will always be for its good. “All that happens is for the good of my elect” (Rm 8:28). Thus in everything that may happen, sorrow or joy, health or sickness, life or death, it is content and fears nothing. The sense are anxious about the future and ask how we shall live tomorrow, but faith feels no anxiety (…) Thus faith illumines everything with a new light, different to the life of the senses, more brilliant, of another kind. Whoever lives by faith has a soul full of new thoughts, new tastes, new impressions; new horizons open up, marvelous horizons lit with a new light, and with a divine beauty surrounded with new truths of which the world is not aware. Thus whoever believes begins a new life opposed to that of the world, whose acts seem like madness. The world is in the darkness of night, the person of faith is in full light: this light-filled path on which we walk is not manifest to others. It seems to them that we want to walk like a madman, in emptiness.