Scientia 2006: Kelly Alexandra Trotta

Kelly Alexandra Trotta is proud to be graduating this May with her bachelor's degree in only three years as an English Literature major with a minor in Religious Studies. She is also a singer and actress who, over the past three years, has performed in many shows at Marywood, in the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre area and in Manhattan. She is a member of the honors societies Delta Epsilon Sigma, Kappa Gamma Pi, Lambda Iota Tau and Theta Alpha Kappa. Kelly plans to pursue her master's in Theology starting next fall, working toward her eventual goal of becoming a college professor. Kelly had the honor of working on her thesis with two of the most amazing women; Sr. Maria Rose Kelly and Dr. Deborah Brassard. She wishes to thank Sr. Rose for agreeing to undertake this project and for believing in her; without Sr. Rose’s support and dedication to the material addressed none of this would have happened. She also wishes to thank Dr. Brassard for her undying encouragement and her effusive enthusiasm; Dr. Brassard’s guidance in both academic areas and otherwise have been invaluable. Kelly also wishes to thank her family, who has always stressed the importance of education, her boyfriend, William, for his loving support, her friends for their patience and especially her Mom and Dad, for always encouraging her to question, for demanding excellence and for allowing her to pursue her dreams.

In Her Image and Likeness: The Feminine Nature of God in Christian Theology and Modern Literature

Director: Sr. Maria Rose Kelly/Dr. Deborah Brassard


The implications of gender impact humankind’s understanding of God. Specifically, in Christianity, God is most commonly spoken about in male language. This raises several important issues: is the language indicative of what Christians think theologically, or is it just a matter of ease; do Christians believe in a male God, or is the English language simply lacking better words with which to talk about God; what is the effect of the use of primarily and even exclusively male language for God on Christian believers, specifically females? Within the Christian concept of the Trinity, the belief that God is three ‘persons’ in one: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the only genderless name for God is God the Spirit. However, in theological history the Spirit has often been personified as female, which raises some interesting issues concerning God within Christian belief. Furthermore, the feminine nature of the Spirit is artistically investigated in many works in English literature. Three works which strongly represent this idea are Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Holy the Firm is a one-person narrative told by a woman who finds ways in which she can connect with God through the Spirit even as she manifests the Spirit. To the Lighthouse tells a story about a woman who, through her attributes, embodies the Spirit and through whom the other characters in the novel connect with God. The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of a young girl who, during her search for a mother, finds the Sacred Feminine. If God as Spirit can be seen as female in nature through examining the attributes of females, then it can be said femininity is reflective of the Spirit. These novels reflect the portrait of Spirit as the feminine divine as reflected in Christian Theological literature.

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