Constant "Self-Denial" and Resilience. Life History Recollections of Nuns Remaining after Dissolution (1950-1989)


  • Zsuzsanna Bögre Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciencies




With the exception of four teaching orders, religious institutes were disbanded in Hungary in 1950. The number of members in the remaining three male and one female teaching orders was strictly limited by the state. This study analyses the narrative recollections of some members of the sole female religious order permitted to remain (albeit partially!) during the period of Communist dictatorship (1950-1989). Through the analysis of life histories, the study is intended to show the coping strategies enabling these sisters to “officially” survive in a hostile ideological environment. The study shows that the sisters’ limited leeway led to changes in the composition of their religious community, in their relationships to one another, in their leaders’ tasks as well as resulting in a new interpretation of asceticism.  It can be seen that they were able to cope with the new circumstances by adopting a resilient approach.