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An Interview with Sister Canisius Hansberry, OSP


Born in Washington, DC in 1937, Sister Canisius Hansberry first met the Oblate sisters of Providence when she was in school. While she was at a camp at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, the Sisters encouraged her to consider becoming a Sister and she entered the order in 1956.

Sister took some time away around 1990, during which she raised her nephew, who also went to St. Frances Academy. During this time, she never lost contact with the Sisters and often would come to help out. After her nephew graduated high school, Sister returned to the congregation.

“There is great joy in being an Oblate Sister of Providence,” Sister Canisius said. “We like to be helpful to others.”

Sister Canisius has served as a teacher in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (St. Katherine School, Mother Mary Lange School) Archdiocese of Washington (St. Margaret and St. Benedict the Moor School) and also taught in Catholic elementary schools in Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan and Miami, Florida. Most recently she serves her community as the Sister in charge of the infirmary. Sister receives some help from a group of women who assist in arranging little celebrations and other activities that engage the Sisters and raise their spirits.

Sister Canisius gets great strength from prayer and Scripture. One of her favorite quotes is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” She notes how important is it to lift others in prayer, asking for God’s healing and help, especially people who are suffering or whose actions do not show love or mercy.

The Oblate Sisters of Providence recently received a grant from SOAR! for an accessible van, which helps assure safety in travel. Now the Sisters who use walkers or wheelchairs can be actively involved in attending conferences and representing their community at religious gatherings.

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