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

Saint James, apostle - Feast

"My cup you will indeed drink"

Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604), Pope, Doctor of the Church

Homilies on the Gospel, no.35 (trans. ©Cistercian studies, 123)

We are celebrating today the heavenly birthday of a martyr. We must not consider ourselves altogether strangers to his virtue of patience. If with the Lord's help we are striving to observe the virtue of patience, though we are living in a time of peace for the Church, yet we are holding the palm of martyrdom. There are in truth two kinds of martyrdom: one in the heart, the other in heart and action at the same time. And so we can be martyrs, even if we are not slain by anyone's sword. To die at the hands of a persecutor is unmistakably martyrdom; to bear insults, to love one who hates us, is martyrdom in our secret thought.

Truth, who asked the sons of Zebedee: “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” testifies that there are two kinds of martyrdom, one in our secret actions, the other in public. When they immediately answered: “We are able,” the Lord replied: “You will indeed drink my cup”. What do we understand by his cup except his passion, of which he said elsewhere: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”? (Mt 26,39) But the sons of Zebedee, James, that is, and John, did not both die as martyrs; yet each heard that he would drink of the cup. John did not end his life in martyrdom, yet was a martyr, because he sustained in his heart the suffering he did not undergo in his body. We too, following his example, can be martyrs without a sword, if we truly guard patience in our minds.


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