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A Nun Hunted and Killed a Huge Deer and the Internet Went Crazy

The Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania proudly posted a picture on their Facebook page recently, not knowing what response they'd get. But when the photo of Sister John Paul Bauer—a nun and teacher at Elk County Catholic High School—hit the...

Alex Swerdloff

Photo via Flickr user freekstreet

The Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania proudly posted a picture on their Facebook page recently, clearly not expecting the insane response it would receive. But when the photo of Sister John Paul Bauer, a nun and teacher at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, hit the Internet, all hell broke loose.

What gives? The Diocese just wanted to proudly show off the 200-pound buck the nun had just hunted and killed. The bishopric has since taken down the controversial photo, but not before answering the age-old question: "Will we ever be graced with a more badass nun than Whoopi Goldberg was?"

Hunters and animal-rights activists quickly divided up, arming themselves with that special brand of douchebaggery only found online. Evidently an animal lover, Maria S. Pagan commented on the photo, "Oh that's nice. A nun killing one of Gods creatures." On the other side of the aisle, Josh Ostrander posted, "Where the heck do some of these people think food comes from? People have killed animals for thousands of years for food. Nothing has changed. And let's clarify, 'thou shalt not kill' refers to murder. It is not sinful to kill animals for food or to kill humans in war or self defense. Some nutty folks out there… "

Others just seemed to be pretty damn impressed by the size of the deer.

Sister Bauer was obviously shocked by the responses; the post was viewed over a million times. Speaking to CBS's Philadelphia affiliate, Bauer said that hunting is a way of life where she comes from: "In St. Marys, this is what you do. You go hunting. And everybody goes hunting. The coach … the students."

The nun with the steady shot said that on the opening day of deer season, which was this Monday, she waited alone for several hours in her tree stand and prayed the rosary. Not exactly typical behavior, one would think, for a hunter. In any event, shortly thereafter, a herd of doe ran by, followed by two big bucks. Sister Bauer bagged the largest one, which was reportedly a 10-point buck with a 16-inch spread. For those of you who like us, have never picked up a gun besides the occasional NES Zapper, the point and spread numbers both refer to the size of the buck's antlers. Bottom line: we're talking a big animal.

Bauer simply doesn't understand the controversy; she says she always prays the rosary in the tree stand and she loves to hunt. And guess what? According to Bauer, the blessed mother helped steer the buck in her direction.

Bauer told CBS that she grew up in deer-hunting country and although she was never invited to hunt with father and brothers, she says she learned to shoot in the US Navy. Obviously this is a pretty rad nun. After serving our country, Bauer returned to St. Marys as both a nun and a hunter.

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Bauer claims there is something spiritual about hunting: "When you're up in a tree stand, you're still and quiet and you're listening and you watch as the frosty ground becomes alive. It's like creation all over again." She says her passion for hunting deer is more about conservation than about killing. Without the hunt, Bauer says, the animals would starve.

Tell that to Georgie Pendragon, who wrote on the Diocese Facebook page, "Disgusting. You can't trust anyone with the sanctity of life. Not impressed. Gun-nut killer nun." Pendragon also had a comment about the comments themselves: "And this thread … goddam."

Looks like Sister Bauer might want to add to her resume that she could have a habit of courting controversy. Nuns have resumes too, right?