NEW DEHLI, India – A cloistered nun in India came out of her convent for an extraordinary reason: to attend a graduation ceremony for her doctorate in Aerospace Engineering.
“I had joined the religious order after my final oral exam last year, and this was the first time I came out after that. The rules of our order forbid us from going out of the convent, but I was given special permission to attend the convocation,” Sister Benedicta of the Holy Face told Matters India over the summer.
The 32-year-old nun lives in a cloistered convent of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face.
Born in Kuwait before the Gulf War, Sister Benedicta studied at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and then earned a Master’s degree in space science from Pune University, located 90 miles from Mumbai.
She earned her PhD from the Defense Institute of Advanced Technology in Pune. According to Matters India, her doctoral work in the field of aerospace engineering involved scramjet engines, which are used mainly for hyper-sonic vehicles and space vehicles.
Sister Benedicta had always felt a call to the consecrated life, but made the decision to become a nun after attending a spiritual retreat in Pune. She finished her doctorate studies before telling her family that she wanted to enter a cloistered convent.
The congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face was founded in 1950 by Venerable Abbot Hildebrand Gregory. In 1977, it became a pontifical congregation and has houses on several continents.