Society of Saint Edmund
Societas Patrum S. Edmundi (Latin)[1]
Père Muard.jpg
Rev. Jean Baptiste Muard - Founder of the religious congregation Society of Saint Edmund
AbbreviationS.S.E. (post-nominal letters)[2]
Formation1843; 179 years ago (1843)[3]
FounderFr.Jean-Baptiste Muard, SSE[4]
Founded atPontigny, France
TypeClerical Religious Congregation of Pontifical Right (for Men)[5]
HeadquartersEdmundite Generalate
270 Winooski Park, Colchester, VermonT 05439, USA[6]
24 members (21 priests) as of 2018[7]
Do the best we can, with what little we have, to serve those most in need
Rev. Fr. David Cray, S.S.E.[8]
Patron saint
Saint Edmund of Canterbury[9]
Parent organization
Roman Catholic Church

The Society of Saint Edmund (Latin: Societas Patrum S. Edmundi) is a religious congregation of the Catholic Church founded in 1843, in Pontigny, France, by Rev. Jean Baptiste Muard. The congregation is named after Saint Edmund and the members are commonly called Edmundites.[10] The members of the congregation add the nominal letters S.S.E. after their names to indicate membership in the Society. They adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.


Members of the Society, based in Pontigny, fled to the United States through Montreal, Canada in 1889 after widespread anticlericalism seized France. The Society of St. Edmund settled in Winooski, Vermont, and established Saint Michael's College in 1904.[11] The original motherhouse is at Pontigny, but since the expulsion of the religious institutes the superior general resided at Hitchin, England.

In the early 20th century, the congregation had two houses in the United States: a missionary house and apostolic school at Swanton, Vermont, for the training of young men who wish to study for the priesthood and the religious life; and a college at Colchester, Vermont, with 12 fathers, 8 scholastics, and 100 pupils. Saint Michael's College has since expanded to 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students.

In 1937 the Society turned to the missions of black Afro-Americans, mainly in Alabama thanks to Father Francis "Frank" Casey. During the Civil rights movement and the lead up to the Selma to Montgomery marches, the Society was the only white group in Selma who openly supported the voting rights campaign.[12] Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee staff member Don Jelinek later described this order as "the unsung heroes of the Selma March ... who provided the only integrated Catholic church in Selma, and perhaps in the entire Deep South".[13]


The Society was formed to keep St. Edmund's memory and life alive through faithful service, for the work of popular missions. The members also devote themselves to parochial work, to the education of youth in seminaries and colleges, to the direction of pious associations, and to foreign missions.


  1. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  2. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  3. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  4. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  5. ^ http://www.gcatholic. org/orders/145.htm
  6. ^ http://www.
  7. ^ http://www.gcatholic. org/orders/145.htm
  8. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  9. ^ "Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.)".
  10. ^ "Our History". The Edmundites. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  11. ^ Urban, Cori. "Society of St. Edmund elects new superior general, Vermont Catholic, diocese of Burlington, July 15, 2018
  12. ^ "Edmundite Southern Missions", Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  13. ^ "Don Jelinek, Oral History/Interview, 2005-Selma Underground: Fathers of St. Edmund", Civil Rights Movement Archive website.