Herbert Hamilton Kelly born.
Work of the ‘Corean Missionary Brotherhood’ begins at 99 Vassall Road, Kennington, England, to train priests for work in Australia and overseas.
Kelly drafts (what would later become) SSM’s Principles, expressing the ethos of SSM. At Michaelmas, Corean Missionary Brotherhood becomes Society of the Sacred Mission (SSM).
Constitution decreed, providing SSM’s structure.
The Bishop of Rochester ES Talbot (who became first Visitor), formally recognises SSM.
SSM outgrows Vassall Road and moves to Mildenhall in Suffolk Diocesan Bishop Ely gives SSM formal recognition as a Theological and Missionary College .
Missionary work begins in schools in South Africa, at Modderpoort in the Orange Free State. SSM Quarterly Paper produced. Herbert Kelly visits South Africa; his brother, Alfred Kelly being the first Provincial.
Kelham Hall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, purchased as new SSM home.
SSM officially withdraws from Korea.
Great Chapter Meeting.
Kelly’s Idea in the Working published.
97 men in residence at Kelham (77 students, 11 lay brothers and nine teaching staff).
General Chapter Meeting. Kelly resigns as Director. Father David Jenks appointed.
Young SSM trained priests serve in North Queensland, Australia.
Kelly moves to Japan, as Professor of Apologetical Theology.
The Great War—121 Kelham men served; 25 were killed, Kelham requisitioned.
Kelly visits Australia.
Kelly returns to Kelham.
First SSM Bishop—Father Standly Haynes (Bloomfontein South Africa).
Reginal Halse consecrated as Bishop of Riverina in New South Wales.
New chapel at Kelham completed.
Jagger Rood installed. The Gospel of God by Father Herbert Kelly published.
BBC broadcast of service at Kelham Chapel.
Second World War—94 students at Kelham, nine Kelham men killed .
Invite from Bishop of Adelaide to establish SSM in Australia.
Theological College opens at St Michael’s House, Mt Lofty, South Australia.
Death of founder Father Herbert Kelly.
Racial apartheid policy implemented in South Africa. Modderpoort teacher training college closes. Modderpoort School closes.
80 students enrolled at Kelham.
Kelham Hall closes (as a result of Butler Act)/SSM at four UK priories— Nottingham, Sheffield, (out of) Lancaster & Willen at Milton Keynes.
SSM establishes at Masethe in Southern Africa.
New Australian Priory established at St John’s Church, Halifax Street, Adelaide.
St Michael’s House destroyed in Ash Wednesday bushfires. SSM Priory opens, Maseru, Lesotho, Southern Africa.
Digger’s Rest (St Michael’s Priory) establishes in Victoria.
Work ceases at Modderpoort/Durham Priory opens in England .
European Provincial Office at the Well at Willen Priory.
Great Chapter Meeting in Cape Town.
First women professed at Durham.
New Province of Southern Africa launched.
The Well and Willen Priory becomes a work of SSM.
New Priory built in Maseru, Lesotho.
2012 Provincials meet in London. L Christopher Myers, Michael Lapsley & Colin Griffiths.
About the timeline
This timeline was put together with the help of Sister Margaret Dewey, a long-time chronicler of the SSM story.
The SSM Chronicle, prepared by Margaret when she was residing in the United Kingdom, was intended as a sort of ‘mini-archive’ and was distributed at the 1981 Great Chapter. Margaret wrote of the chronicle: ‘It is not a narrative to be read straight through, but a more-or less chronological collection of material to be dipped into, using the fairly detailed table of contents.
Margaret also produced three supplements: the first, SSM Chronicle SSM Chronicle Supplement 1989–1996 takes up where the first left off; the second is SSM Chronicle Supplement 1996–1999; and the third, SSM Chronicle Supplement 1999-2004, concludes with the inauguration of the new Southern African Province in 2003.
SSM in brief
SSM had its beginnings in December 1890, when Father Herbert Hamilton Kelly began training ‘ordinary’ young men for the ‘Corean Missionary Brotherhood’ at Vassall Road Kennington in the United Kingdom. The Principles, drafted for the Holy Week retreat in 1892, expressed Kelly’s ideal of God-centred dedication. At Michaelmas in the same year the name changed to the Society of the Sacred Mission. Kelly drafted the Constitution in 1893, and SSM was inaugurated on 9 May.
SSM relocated to Mildenhall in 1897 and to Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire in 1903, which became head office and theological college until its closure in 1973. The college’s chapel at Kelham was famous for two things: its concrete dome (built in 1928), the second largest in England, and the Jagger Rood. Since inception, SSM has trained around 3500 men for the priesthood. Read More
Today, SSM’s three provinces are autonomous, but closely linked; and members share prayer and fellowship in a variety of educational, pastoral and community activities. The object of SSM is expressed in its motto: Ad gloriam dei in eius voluntate (To the glory of God in the doing of his will).
SSM membership comprises members who have been professed, who make promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience; other members who join fully in the life of SSM, but do not make those promises and may be married; and others who associate with SSM and become part of its life and work.
Provincials are—Australian Province: Christopher Myers (Visitor Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne); European Province: Colin Griffiths (Visitor John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford); Southern African Province Michael Lapsley (Visitor Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town).
- The Principles – View pdf
- Ad Fratres (excerpts)—To the brothers – View pdf
- Ad Filios—To the students – View pdf
- ‘H.K. on Vocation’ by Herbert Kelly – View pdf
SSM is not Religious. I do hold that SSM is an organisation for work. AND thereby religious, so far as we separate or devote our lives to that purpose . . . I believe that a new life might come out of average and mediocre people . . . organized.”
Father Herbert Kelly
Father Kelly—the Idea explored
- An idea whose time has come? (2009) – contact for publication
- An idea still working (1980)
- Father Kelly and the idea of theology (2002) – contact for publication
- Myers, CJ 1991, ‘A vision of catholicity for Japan in the mid-twentieth century’. Master of Arts (Asian Studies) thesis, Australian National University – contact for publication
- Jones, AW. 1971. ‘Herbet Hamilton Kelly SSM 1860-1950 : A study in failure’, Doctoral thesis, University of Nottingham – contact for publication