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A Canoness of the Adepta Sororitas

A Canoness is a command position within the Adepta Sororitas, above a Palatine and below a Prioress.[2b]

Roles and Responsibilities

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]

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]

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.

Traditionally, a Canoness of a lesser order is outranked by a Canoness of the major order from which the lesser order was formed.[1b]

Notable Canonesses