Like any other hunter would be, Sister John Paul Bauer was elated after harvesting a 10-point, 200-pound buck during hunting season in Pennsylvania. According to CNS News, the 60-year-old Benedictine nun from St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania had only harvested two other deer in her life, but she was quick to share the meat from her buck with other families in the Erie Diocese. Understandably proud of her achievement, the nun put a photo of the deer on Facebook, which was then shared by the Erie Diocese page.

They could not have expected the backlash that came with it.

“The pic of Sister with a buck she just killed for the needy is typical of the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and why I left this religion years ago,” wrote one commenter on the diocese’s Facebook page.

“Shame on you. She killed one of Gods [sic] creations. Has Pope Francis seen this? I think he should,” wrote another.

The reception was initially positive when the photo was first uploaded, with fellow hunters congratulating Bauer on her harvest. After the post went viral with over a million shares, however, animal rights groups started targeting the diocese’s page.

“We recognize that social media needs to be a two-way conversation, but unfortunately, many of those who oppose hunting posted vulgar comments, using profanity and even an obscene photograph,” Anne-Marie Welsh, a spokesman for the Erie Diocese, told the Associated Press. “After careful consideration, we decided to delete the post due to its inflammatory nature.”

Why the vitriol? It may have to do with Bauer’s status as a nun, and perhaps even her gender. Many observers have noted that women who post pictures from their hunts can be criticized more than men.

Earlier this year, American huntress Rebecca Francis found herself the target of international outrage after animal rights activists shared a picture she took five years ago. Even English comedian Ricky Gervais singled her out for ridicule. The incident started a curious debate over whether woman hunters receive more mockery than their male counterparts, especially since hunting has been a traditionally male activity.

In St. Mary’s, however, Bauer says hunting is popular with everyone.

“In St. Marys, this is what you do. You go hunting. Everybody goes hunting,” she said.

“It’s a conservation effort,” she explained to the  Erie Diocese’s website. “If you don’t kill the deer, they will starve. You have to maintain the population that can be fed naturally off the land. If you get an overabundance, then the deer starve. Likewise, if you overkill, then that’s not good either. So there’s a balance. You don’t just hunt for the sake of killing. You are part of nature. You’re part of a cycle. You’re part of creation.”

Bauer, a former Navy nurse and theology teacher at Elk County Catholic High School, says she prays in her treestand before every hunt.

The Erie Diocese has since removed the picture from their Facebook, but plenty of other pages have shared it and responded positively.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Image from Facebook

  • Ali Akbar

    The criticism should be directed toward the rabid hypocrites who have no problem buying their turkeys, steaks and hot dogs that other people have killed so they don’t get their own hands bloody.
    Anyone, including a nun, that is hunting to feed other people and helping to preserve and strengthen a natural resource should be help up as an example of responsible conservation.

  • Harley Morrisson

    Ya done good, thanks for sharing a wonderful day in the great outdoors !

  • tom

    For all those ignorant, hypocritical fools who dare to criticize this lady, how many of you eat meat or wear leather? Most of you I imagine. There must be some other more honest and productive way you can spend your time other than display your idiotic opinions.

    • timdnml .

      I don’t eat meat or wear leather. The Book says “Thou shalt not kill.” It’s only four words. What part don’t you understand? Are you going to call me more names now?

      • Max Stout

        You mean The Bible? It’s not The Book…. It has been coloquialized as “The Good Book”…… Your reference happens to be the first commandment (just a refresher for you). It’s reference is to God’s people (everyone-you too) not animals. By your standard then you should only suck juice, and take few bites off of your plants because “thou shalt not kill”. If you delve into The Bible further you will find in the book of Genesis that God instructed man that his food would be “the animals of the earth”…… “Be a good steward” of your resources….. He even instructs me to “take up your bow and quiver of arrows, and go to the wild and take Me some venison”…. The definition of venison is meat from wild animals (not just ungulates). Also don’t worry meat eaters do eat plants too, as God didn’t mean just eat meat. He says “you will eat by the sweat of your brow”. He also mentions in the New Testament (the second part of the Bible after Christ) that we should not criticize each other for the food we choose to eat. I hold no animosity toward you and other vegans for what you choose to eat. It is very annoying though, to be reprimanded by someone who is no better than anyone, for something that is more than natural for me and the majority of all people of the earth, as if you and other vegans are humans of a higher order. Your attitude toward me and others like me (the majority of all people on earth) comes across as being arrogance, narcism, elitist, etc. But, I know you actually mean well. It also says in the Bible as Jesus was being crucified, “forgive them Father, they know not what they do….” So just some things to consider out of human decency. Take it easy brother. How’s that for name calling?

      • timdnml .

        You wasted a lot of time showing me how damn smart you are when I wasn’t even talking to you. This is the same good book that tells me how to treat and beat a slave properly (Exodus 21)? Or the proper laws to follow concerning rape (Deut 22)?

        For god so loved the world that he killed all the babies more than once, and created a special place for you to suffer for all eternity if you don’t love him back enough.

        <>

        No, I don’t.
        Fuck you. I’m not your brother.

      • Chiefbuck

        Clearly you are correct, you are merely a typical liberal loon.

      • timdnml .

        Tell your mom I want my socks back.

      • Chiefbuck

        My mother passed away several years ago, thanks for proving beyond any doubt that you are a typical arrogant liberal.

      • timdnml .

        That would explain her lack of enthusiasm.

      • Chiefbuck

        tim, Then ask your boyfriend!

      • Rattlerjake

        Your avatar description claims “You were born naked, wet, and hungry…” You forgot ugly, stupid, and useless!

      • timdnml .

        Did your mom have any kids that lived?

      • SalemKittyKat

        Yeah, that’s why they didn’tt sacrifice animals in the Bible. Whoops, that’s wrong they did. What part don’t you understand?

      • timdnml .

        That’s what I like about the bible. It’s so clear and easy to understand. Why don’t you read 1 Timothy 2:12, and then go make me a sandwich. There’s a good girl.

      • Sam Sinyard

        Why don’t you go read Genesis 9:3. Now, go make me a sandwich. 🙂 cheers

      • M40

        You don’t kill? So you eat rocks, dirt and other non-living matter?

        PS – The (often mistranslated) bible actually says ‘Thou shalt not MURDER’. The Aramaic from which it was translated had distinct words to differentiate between murder of humans and slaying of animals.

      • timdnml .

        A. I wasn’t talking to you. Didn’t your momma teach you not to talk to strangers?
        B. Of course I don’t eat rocks. I’m a vegan. Look it up. There’s a couple of us around.
        C. The bible is fiction, so I don’t care.

      • M40

        A) Troll a public forum, and you’re inviting everyone to comment. If you don’t like it, stay in your mom’s basement.
        B) As a vegan, you take hundreds of times as many lives (plant LIFE). You’re just making silly moral equivalencies as to which species you’re willing to extinguish.
        C) You’re the one who cited the bible. If you can’t handle responses, then don’t troll in the first place.

      • Rattlerjake

        Actually, God NEVER classified plants as living. Biologically they do not have a heart, mind, and feel no pain, so they are not considered living, it is humans who have endowed them with that term.

      • M40

        If there is a ‘god’, then he/she doesn’t “classify” anything. It is mankind who developed the system of binomial nomenclature to classify all living things via genus and species. While flora may have very little in the way of a nervous system (as compared to fauna), they are still alive. Humans didn’t “endow” them with anything… they fit the definition of living organisms. While we’re in that vein… does a venus flytrap (plant) have less nervous system than a single cell organism (animal)? My point is valid (that vegans make silly moral equivalencies about plants/animals).

      • Rattlerjake

        There is more than ONE usage for the word classify. If you look at what I said, it had nothing to do with Genus and species, but to assign to a category, as in living/non-living.
        And a Venus flytrap does NOT have a nervous system at all, no more than a “sensitive plant” has, and most single celled organisms are NOT animals.

      • M40

        You’re sounding like a vegan nutcase.

      • Rattlerjake

        And that reply is what you resort to when you can’t back your claims.

      • matt

        Read this and had to laugh, appears to me you got owned son…

      • Rattlerjake

        Only a nitwit like you would think so. I’ve got your “owned son” hanging!

      • M40

        Maybe you don’t realize it, but you just dove headlong into a moral equivalency argument over which life forms have more intrinsic value. By your ‘reasoning’, it’s better to fell a mighty oak tree than to step on a bug. And that sir, is why you’re sounding like a vegan nutcase.

      • Rattlerjake

        I don’t have to realize anything, I’m not the one that keeps making absurd assumptions like you are. I made NO reference to which form of “life” has more “intrinsic” value; water and soil are not “living” items but that doesn’t mean I would agree to pollute them.
        You also seem to be hung up on vegans and you seem to think it’s insulting to call me one. If that makes you feel better, go for it, you obviously haven’t taken the time to read any of my previous comments.

      • matt

        lol

      • Truhawk

        Genesis 9:3 -“every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb I have given you all things”

      • M40

        Are you trying to point out the fallibility of biblical prose? Sorry dude, but I think god just failed the survival test. Take a walk in a swamp and give that advice a try sometime. Or a jungle, or a desert, or a tidal pool. Heck, there’s very few places where that would be good advice.

      • Sam Sinyard

        Genesis 9:3- “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

      • RPJ

        What the Book says is “thou shall not MURDER”. It has NEVER said thou shall not kill. That is a wrong translation plain & simple. In fact shortly after the laying down of the law to Moses, G-d tells Joshua to go into the land of Canaan & KILL all the people & their live stock. BTW it is not also a matter of interpretation, it is knowing the that there is a word in Hebrew for kill, & a word for murder.

      • timdnml .

        1. The bible is fiction.
        2. Either it is the word, or it’s not. There is no ‘interpretation’.

        Arguing with you guys is like playing chess with a pigeon. You crap all over the board, knock over all the pieces, and then strut around like you’ve won.

      • RPJ

        1. Not fiction
        2. It may be the word, but it’s no good to you if you don’t understand the words.
        3. Plenty of interpretation. That’s why there is a Talmud.
        Didn’t you open your mouth & start this. So you come out looking foolish & we are all to blame for your ignorance. Interesting. Better luck next time.

  • gcfortruth

    Very good take my lady friend.

  • Art P

    No one who eats meat, wears wool or leather can criticize her. It is not nobler to pay someone else to do your killing for you. It is better to take your place in the natural process and harvest responsibly

  • Max Stout

    God bless you Sister! Nice job! That’s a dandy deer. America is proud of you. Don’t listen to the deceived, their commentary is babble from the ignorant and proud.

  • Lindsey

    Good job sister, you should be proud.

  • jerry king

    way to go sister

  • Brett Biggerstaff

    Having read the Bible, I’m sure she’s aware that God put the animals on this earth to feed us, unlike the one’s who bemoan her “killing God’s creatures”.

  • gabriel_a_pharmer

    Great Shot! She should be proud!

  • Michele Gillaspie

    I and my family think it is cool that she was able to hunt and then share with those in need. If all hunters did this then a lot of people that can’t afford food would have some food on their tables. So many go without we believe Sister should be applauded.

    • shirlsjeans

      There is an organization Hunters for the Hungry. They take donated deer and fresh road kill, have it processed and donate it to shelters and the needy. Some processors donate their time, facilities and supplies, most do not. In Columbia, SC it is a United Way organization and can be donated to that way. They always need money for processing, transporting the deer and meat. If you donate through UW you must designate the money go to them otherwise they get zero. They only get funds through UW if the person donating designates them. You may also donate directly.

  • Godzilla

    This is why we hunt!

  • billnpatti

    For some strange reason, there are people who think that if meat comes from the woods, a terrible death has occurred. But if you buy a steak in the supermarket in a Styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic, or you grab a quick burger at a fast food joint, somehow, no death was involved. Hmmmmm…. Rather odd reasoning, don’t you think? Or maybe we can conclude that no reasoning is involved.

  • Snug

    Evil , no matter what name used , has found a fertile place to grow in the tutored ignorance of modern ” liberals ” . Whatever they call themselves they are still the mobs that burned “witches ” at Salem , or hanged ” negroes ” in the south for being ” uppity ” . They are haters , they hate everything and everyone when looks , speaks ( note : p. c. speech ) , acts or believes differently from them . They are the true enemies of civilization . These are the ones who are attacking the ” hunting nun ” . Bless you , Sister Bauer , please continue to help the needy as you choose .

  • Truhawk

    Nice Buck Sister!

  • G. Brennan

    Congratulations on a wonderful buck Sister. Be proud that you are able to continue our hunting heritage and pass on the food to the ones in need. There will always be ignorant people who do not understand the circle of life nor the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. I hope that hunting for you is more than a habit (no pun intended) (well, maybe a little) 😉 Keep on hunting and pass along the tradition. MERRY CHRISTMAS! (that will torque a few people as well). God Bless!

  • angelwing2119

    Congrats Sister:) We are all proud of you. People who criticize you just don’t understand the joy of combining a sport that you love and compassion for others. Keep up the good work and get a bigger one next time………..we will be rooting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mark Vincent

    Sister I would have gratefully skinned and gutted that beautiful buck. Just let me have the hide so I can brain tan it and put all of it to use. Hunting is THE most important tool wildlife biologists have to ascertain the health of the herd and without it there would be serious problems in managing a sustainable resource like deer.
    I live in San Francisco, the home of PC and animal rights but the last time I checked there were many functioning butcher shops and they do a brisk and steady 7 day a week business.
    Great job and you should be proud of yourself.

    Mark Vincent

  • Salty Nutz

    There it is for all to see.