Cynthia Canning, SNJM

Cynthia is the oldest of four daughters born to Marie O’Sullivan and Lawrence Canning. She is the proud older sister of Marcia, Mary, and Claire – all amazing women!

As a student at Holy Names High School, she was impressed with the Sisters there – their interest in and kindness to the students, and the happy spirit they seemed to have among them as a community. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Names after graduation, along with Maureen Delaney, Mary Margaret Mulgrew, and several other classmates.

Her first years in teaching were in elementary school, where she taught not one, but two grades in the same classroom: fifth and sixth, first at St. Joseph in San Francisco and then at St. Mary’s in Oakland. Later, after twelve years teaching English in high school at Ramona and Holy Names High School, she served as principal at Holy Names for two years – a position she loved.

The next twelve years were spent in Province leadership, six as Director of Ministry and six as Provincial. These were wonderful years, filled with opportunities to come to know individual Sisters better, to see their wonderful ministries first hand, and to work with talented and compassionate team members.

In 1994, along with Sisters Rosemary Delaney and Margaret Kennedy, she was a co-founder of Next Step Learning Center, a community based nonprofit in Oakland with a mission of education and opportunity for Oakland families. Here, for the past almost twenty years, she has had the privilege of serving as Co-Director, working with dedicated staff and volunteers and with the courageous and determined Oakland youth and adults who come to Next Step, hoping to earn their GED and build better lives.

Another highlight of her life has been the privilege of serving as a member of the Boards of Directors/Trustees of Ramona, Holy Names High School, Holy Names University, and Next Step Learning Center. Here she has worked alongside and come to know and admire people of great integrity, generosity, vision, and commitment to the SNJM mission and its importance in our world.