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

Wednesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

"My daughter is tormented by a demon"

Saint Hilary (c.315-367), Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church

Commentary on Saint Matthew's Gospel, 15 ; SC 258

This gentile Canaanite woman no longer needs healing herself since she confesses Christ as Lord and Son of David. But she begs for help for her daughter, that is to say, for the crowd of Gentiles held captive under the domination of unclean spirits. Our Lord is silent, preserving for Israel with his silence the honor of salvation. (…) Bearing in himself the mystery of the Father's will, he answers that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel so that it might be clearly seen that the daughter of the Canaanite woman is a symbol of the Church. (…) This does not mean that salvation was not to be given to the gentiles but that our Lord had come “to his own and his own people” (Jn 1:11) and was waiting for the first fruits of faith from the people from whom he had come forth; the rest would be saved later through the preaching of the apostles. (…)

And so that we might understand that the Lord's silence was due to consideration of the times and not to any obstacle placed by his own will, he added: “Woman, your faith is great!”  What he meant was that this woman, who was already sure of her salvation, had – what is better still – faith in the gathering together of the gentiles at the approaching time when, through their faith, they would be set free like this young girl from all domination by unclean spirits. Indeed, confirmation of this came about: following the prefiguration of the gentiles in the Canaanite woman's daughter, people who were prisoner to all kinds of different illnesses were brought to the Lord by the crowds on the mountain (Mt 15:30). These were unbelievers, that is to say sick, who were led by believers to adoration and worship and to whom salvation was given that they might comprehend, study, praise and follow God.