Sister Rita Hanson was born in Montreal on October 22, 1927 the eldest of three children of Edward Hanson and Veronica Pelletier. When Rita was 9 years old her mother died. She and her younger siblings were then raised by their grandmother. Rita attended St. Gabriel’s Academy in Montreal until she finished Grade 10. Because of financial constraints she had to go to work at a young age. Her first employment was as a cashier with Henry Morgan & Sons. As a member of the Legion of Mary she assisted the Little Sisters of the Poor with the elderly. After her grandmother died, Rita entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul on August 15, 1949.
Following her First Profession in 1951 she was assigned to Providence Manor to care for the aged. In 1956 she cared for the Sisters in the infirmary at the Motherhouse. After one year she enrolled in the Registered Nursing Assistant course at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Brockville. Following graduation, she was assigned to Providence Manor until 1972 at which time she was assigned to the Father Dowd Home in Montreal. In 1980 she returned to Providence Manor and in 1982 she took the pharmacology course at St. Lawrence College. In 1986 she was assigned to the evening shift to distribute medications. Sister remained in this position until her health began to fail and then she retired to the Motherhouse. In her retirement she enjoyed assisting in the library. She and her friend, Sister Margaret Mary Lines, loved to go shopping for the Sisters who were unable to go out. Every Saturday afternoon the two of them enjoyed their time out together.
After several years of being confined to the infirmary, Sister Rita went peacefully home to her loving God on October 5, 2023.
Although Sister Rita suffered from mental illness throughout much of her life, she faithfully and lovingly carried out her ministries. She loved the elderly and ministered to them with compassion.
The Mass of Christian Burial, held on October 13, 2023 in the Chapel of Mary, Mother of Compassion, Providence Motherhouse, was presided over by Msgr. Joseph Lynch who also delivered the homily.