India Nun Receives Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering

Sister Benedicta at her graduation.

A 32 year old nun from Kuwait currently living in India, Sister Benedicta of the Holy Face, came out of her convent for an extraordinary reason: to attend a graduation ceremony for her doctorate in Aerospace Engineering (1). She was the only nun among the 23 graduates and attended the ceremony in her full religious attire. The story has made its round and has been picked up by The Indian Express (2), The Catholic Register (3), and Matters in India (4).

Sister Benedicta studied at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and then earned a Master’s degree in space science from Pune University, “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.”

She went on to earn 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 obtained special permission from her superiors to attend the ceremony as outside contact is forbidden in her order. Members are to remain in their orders so that they can lead a life of prayer and meditation.

As the creator of this site which emphasizes evidence and reason I am truly proud of Sister Benedicta for her massive achievement. Well done!


1. CNA. This cloistered nun got her doctorate in aerospace engineering. Available.

2. Biswas, P. 2016. A cloistered nun steps out of her order, to go back with a PhD in aerospace engineering. Available.

3. The Catholic Register. Indian cloistered nun receives her doctorate in aerospace engineering. Available.

4. Matters India. Cloistered nun awarded doctorate in aerospace engineering. Available.


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