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

Friday of the First week of Lent

Woe to those who impair the spirit of charity !

Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923), Abbot

The cenobitical society (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, London: Sands & Co., 1934, pp. 78-79, rev.)

It may happen (…) that one may "excommunicate" oneself one's brethren. This may be done by failing in charity; by excluding someone, if not from one's heart, at least from the radiation of effective love. Again, one may "excommunicate" someone from the hearts of others by exciting them to distrust him. This is a sin so contrary to the Christian spirit that we should be especially on our guard against it and act in this manner with the greatest delicacy. The cenobitical society is one, the cement that joins together its different members is charity. If that is diminished, the divine life also tends to be lowered in the social body. What, in fact, is the distinctive sign whereby the members of the Christian family are infallibly recognized, the sign given by Christ himself? It is mutual love (cf. Jn 13:35). It is the same for the monastic community, and the true mark of the protection of Christ Jesus over s religious community is the charity that reigns between its members. Woe to those who impair, in whatever manner it may be, this spirit of charity. In rending the robe of the Bride, they tear from their own soul the Christian sign excelling all others. Christ is one; he tells us that what we do to the least of his brethren¬ — of his brethren — of good or evil, we do to himself. (cf. Mt 25:40, 45).