ACRS Alumna Katalin Pataki

August 22, 2016

I received an e-mail at the beginning of my studies at CEU that drew my attention on the Religious Studies Program. I already had experience in working on various types of archival sources produced by and/or about religious orders in late eighteenth-century Hungary and I wanted to improve my professional literacy in order to develop a suitable theoretical background for their interpretation. The Specialization in Religious Studies at CEU offered me an appropriate framework to realize my plans.

 My topic was about how Joseph II’s church politics resulted in the secularization of 140 monasteries in the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom between 1782-1790. Besides the narratives representing the secularization procedures from the aspect of imperial decision(s), I was very much interested in the embeddedness of monastic com munities into their local environment and mapping up ‘gaps’ that evolved in consequence of the suppression of religious orders. In order to make this approach more specific, I set into focus the role of monasteries in the field of medical care. My decision was inspired by essays on the history of medicine claiming that the dissolution of monasteries caused the abolition of significant repositories of medical knowledge and resulted in a meaningful change on the ‘medical marketplace’. Since the empirical underpinning of such statements was still lacking and they were strongly linked to my initial interest, I undertook analysis of the preserved files of 112 dissolved monasteries. Despite of the great number of studies written on the suppression of religious orders, dealing with monasteries is still impossible without a medieval context. I was very glad that the program provided me the opportunity to transgress departmental boundaries and let me to take a relatively high number of courses at the Department of Medieval Studies as well

My most memorable Religious Studies experience at CEU was the field trip with professor Laszlovszky to the royal castle of Visegrád connected to the lecture and seminar ‘Medieval Monasticism: Community, Buildings, Landscape’. I especially enjoyed his guidance at the archeological site of the one-time Franciscan monastery near the castle and the direct experience of spatial relations and the complexity of their interpretation.

The specialization provided me a good general basis to relate myself to various approaches regarding religion and it also improved my self-confidence for venturing to unknown territories in my studies.



AY 2011/2012 - AY 2012/13



Katalin graduated from CEU with a two-year MA from the Department of History and with a certificate in Religious Studies in June 2013.

In  May 2013, she presented at the University of Minnesota conference Interrogating the Archive: Preserving and Interpreting Knowledges of the Past an interdisciplinary research collaborative seminar that provided joint classes for CEU and UM students under the instruction of Andrea Pető and Mary Joe Maynes. Her paper was entitled "'Poor Clares at the Crossroads’: Nuns’ life patterns after the dissolution the Poor Clares’ monastery of Buda".

From 2013, Katalin has been enrolled with the CEU Department of History Doctoral Program with the research topic 'The Place of Faith - The Implementation of Joseph II’s Church Policies in the Hungarian Kingdom.'