Inside the Orders Militant, the Canoness is a veteran Battle Sister who has risen through the ranks to eventually command an entire order through their qualities of command, leadership, and sound tactical and strategic knowledge, as well as no small amount of faith. A Canoness is generally the most experienced warrior in the Order, as well as a great spiritual leader. She aims to inspire great devotion in her followers, and in a combat environment can always be found at the front, leading the faithful in battle-hymns.[1b] To become a Canoness, they need not only battlefield prowess and faith in the Emperor but also tactical genius. A Canoness also oversees the day-to-day activities of the sisters under her command, leads her sisters in prayer, and performs rites of initiation for new sisters to the order.[2b]
A Canoness is officially outranked by the Prioress of her order's convent, but the Prioress may come from any of the orders of the Adepta Sororitas attached to that convent, and thus is not always from the Orders Militant. Because of this, the Prioress may often defer to a Canoness on military matters.[2b]
While it is up to Ecclesiarchy religious figures to declare a War of Faith, it falls to Canoness' to oversee their actual executions. As communication and movements in the Imperium can take decades or even centuries, Canoness' have little oversight during their campaigns and must often rely on her own judgement to carry out the Emperor's will. A Canoness must also juggle the many pleas for aid that reach her sanctuary, choosing which crisis to respond to.
Variations in Rank Structure
While the smaller lesser orders may only have a single Canoness to lead the entire order, the larger orders, which often number in the thousands, break this rank down further for organizational purposes.[1b]
- Canoness Commander: Commands a commandery of approximately two hundred sisters.
- Canoness Preceptor: Commands a preceptory of approximately one thousand sisters.
- Canoness Superior: Commander of the entire order and oversees a War of Faith at the behest of the Ecclesiarch.
Traditionally, a Canoness of a lesser order is outranked by a Canoness of the major order from which the lesser order was formed.[1b] The "lesser" Canoness' traditionally oversee the spiritual and physical training of Sisters in their sanctuary. They lead combat drills, prayers, and rituals as well as commanding their warriors in battle.
- Agnes - Order of Our Martyred Lady
- Aspira - Canoness and Saint of the Order of the Bloody Rose who liberated a hundred worlds.[1a]
- Astra - Order of the Silver Lilly
- Aurea - Order of the Valorous Heart
- Chrisima - Order of the Argent Shroud
- Dorothea - Order of the Maurdlin Countenance
- Elivia - Order of Our Martyred Lady
- Jasmine - Order of the Bloody Rose
- Junith Eruita - Canoness Superior of the Order of Our Martyred Lady
- Lunaria - Order of the Vermilion Hand
- Persphone Sheng - Order of the Ebon Chalice
- Magda Grace - Order of the Sacred Rose
- Mari - Canoness Superior and Saint of the Order of the Bloody Rose.
- Praxedes - Canoness and Saint of the Order of Our Martyred Lady who martyred herself to allow others to escape the Tyranids.[2a]
- Sariah - Order of the Sacred Rose
- Selena Agna - Canoness of a preceptory of the Order of the Sacred Rose at Kaurava.
- Serita - Order of Our Martyred Lady
- Temperance Blaise - Fought in the War of Beasts
- 1: Codex: Witch Hunters
- 2: White Dwarf 379 (US)
- 3: Dawn of War: Soulstorm
- 4: Games-Workshop Canoness (last accessed 12 March 2015)
- 5: Hammer and Anvil (Novel) by James Swallow, Chapters 1, 12, 15
- 6: The 13th Black Crusade (Background Book), pg. 90
- 7: White Dwarf July 2019 - Indomitus Crusade Fleets
- 8: Warhammer Community: Breaking News: Sisters, Psykers and Skeletons (Posted 29/8/2019) (Last Accessed 29 August 2019)
- 9: Warhammer Community: Sisters of Battle: Beyond the Box (Posted 13 November 2019) (Last accessed 11/14/2019)
- 10: Psychic Awakening: Faith and Fury pg.14-15
- 11: Mark of Faith (Novel) Book 1 Chapter 1
- 12: Champions, All (Short Story)
- 13: Codex: Adepta Sororitas (8th Edition) pg.42
- 14: White Dwarf February 2020, pg. 59
|HQ||Canoness ⚜ Sororitas Command Squad ⚜ Sister Superior ⚜ Sister Hospitaller ⚜ Sister Dialogus ⚜ Sister Famulous ⚜ Imagifier ⚜ Ministorum Priest (Confessor ⚜ Missionary) ⚜ Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave (Crusader ⚜ Death Cult Assassin ⚜ Arco-Flagellant)|
|Elites||Celestian Squad ⚜ Repentia Squad (Repentia Superior) ⚜ Oblatia Squad|
|Troops||Battle Sister Squad|
|Fast Attack||Seraphim Squad ⚜ Zephyrim Squad ⚜ Dominion Squad|
|Heavy Support||Retributor Squad ⚜ Exorcist ⚜ Penitent Engine ⚜ Mortifier ⚜ Anchorite ⚜ Avenger ⚜ Lightning Strike|
|Transports||Rhino ⚜ Immolator ⚜ Repressor ⚜ Thunderhawk|
|Special Characters||Saint Celestine ⚜ Uriah Jacobus ⚜ Veridyan ⚜ Geminae Superia ⚜ Junith Eruita|