Lay Centre ‘a natural fit’ for Oxford research fellow

Lay Centre: Could you please tell us something about yourself and your work?

Patrick Houlihan: I’m a research fellow in history at the University of Oxford. My main scholarly interests include the intersections of religion and war in the 20th century, and I’m writing a book on the global history of the Catholic Church during the First World War. I received my PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 2011. My publications include a book, Catholicism and the Great War: Religion and Everyday Life in Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1922 (2015), which was awarded the Fraenkel Prize of the Wiener Library.


Dr. Patrick Houlihan

Lay Centre: Why did you choose The Lay Centre as a place to stay during your studies and work?

Patrick Houlihan: My work is heavily archival in nature, and after long days in the archives, I appreciate the opportunity to live holistically in an academic community in the Eternal City. At the University of Chicago, where I obtained my PhD, I was a resident head in a wonderful living-learning community (go Coulter House!), based on the model of the English residential college. All of this makes The Lay Centre a natural fit for me.

Lay Centre: How have you found your experience with The Lay Centre?

Patrick Houlihan: I’m thankful to have found such a wonderful community of friendly, talented students and staff here. Donna Orsuto in particular sets a shining example of academic leadership that incorporates research, teaching, and service. I thoroughly enjoy talking with students and academics who are living here or just passing through. I especially appreciate the centre’s focus on spirituality, which is pluralistic, non-dogmatic, and interreligious. Playing music at the Wednesday evening services is a delight for me.

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