HOUSTON (LifeSiteNews) — A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) instructor has witnessed to her love for Christ and the Catholic faith.
35-year-old Allissa Battocletti Noffke from Indianapolis, known as the “Professor of Spacewalking” at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, has recently spoken up about the impact of her Catholic upbringing and how much Christ and the Catholic faith mean to her.
“Christ is the most important part of my life,” Battocletti Noffke said in an interview with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ newspaper, The Criterion.
Battocletti Noffke, who has worked at NASA for the past fifteen years, works as part of the Human Spaceflight Operations team where she instructs astronauts in the skills they will need on a spacewalk. According to The Criterion, she also serves as a flight controller who “leads on-orbit operations for the United States’ extra-vehicular activities on the International Space Station. She also works with Mission Control when American astronauts are in space.”
In moving to Houston to pursue her dream career, Battocletti Noffke did not forget her childhood faith. One of the items on her “must do” list was to find a Catholic church.
“When I first moved to Houston and I didn’t know anyone, one of the first things I did was find a parish to attend Mass,” she said. “That was comforting in a lot of ways—to be away from home and to still have the same Mass that I could participate in. That was very important.”
Battocletti Noffke said that her profession has enabled her to glean a unique perspective on the universe, allowing her to feel closer to God and to recognize His greatness.
“I just marvel at God’s creation, creating this whole universe,” she said. “I get to see it through our country’s space program. It leaves me in awe of all the beauty He has given us.”
Battocletti Noffke also spoke highly of the Catholic education she received during her time at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, saying that it helped prepare her for the arduous education she then went on to receive at Purdue University.
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“Science and math were my natural strengths, but I will also say that my college degree at Purdue was rigorous and a lot of hard work,” she said. “I was academically prepared for that, coming out of Chatard—maybe even more so than a lot of my fellow students who didn’t have that strong academic background.”
However, while Battocletti Noffke voiced gratitude for the education she received at her Catholic high school for shaping her future, she said that her Catholic education primarily taught her the importance of keeping Christ at the center of her life.
“One of the things I really appreciate about my Catholic education is how it put Christ at the forefront of our lives every day,” she said. “I’m so thankful for that. We had Mass, we had religion classes, and we started every class with prayer. And that emphasized to me that Christ is the most important part of life. I still live that very much today.”
As she and her husband Matthew anticipate the arrival of their first child on July 1, Battocletti Noffke indicated that she is ready to pass on her love for the Lord and the Catholic faith to future generations.
“It’s really exciting to think about having a relationship with my own child and helping my child have a relationship with Christ—just as my parents did with me,” she said.
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