Hannah Vanorny is a Benedictine sister at Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, North Dakota. She joined her community in 2006 and made her final monastic profession in 2013. She has served as the assistant director of Campus Ministry at the University of Mary in Bismarck and as the vocation director of her community. Currently, she is Annunciation Monastery's volunteer director and works as a reference associate at the Bismarck Public Library.
Is God a woman? Some people would find this simple question blasphemous. But the question has been on my mind lately as I contemplate the related issue of the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church.
"Wow, he's hot!" I exclaimed recently as I gazed at a good-looking guy in a television commercial.
The young woman standing next to me looked at me in shock.
"You can't like guys, you're a nun!" she said indignantly.
My immediate reaction was: "Yes, I can!" I proceeded to explain to her that a woman does not shut off her sex drive when she joins a monastery or convent, even if that might make life a bit easier.
"Do you have electricity in North Dakota?" I remember being asked that question as a 13-year-old on a trip to the southern part of the country. The person asking was an earnest-looking cowboy type at a Nashville restaurant. At the time I was totally surprised and offended. People thought that we were that backward in North Dakota? "Yes, of course we do!" I exclaimed indignantly to him.