May 9th

We have reached the mid-point of Final Exam Week.  I am impressed by the kindness and love that has been shown during a time that can be stressful.  I think it speaks of the commitment and dedication that the residents of Ryan Hall live out every day. It is time to thank many people who have contributed to the Ryan Hall Community. Let us begin with the Hall Staff.

 

Meredith Holland has served as AR for two years and will graduate with her J.D.

Sara Thoms has served as RA for two years and will graduate with a M.Div.

Brennah Toomey has served as RA in 1A.

Vanessa Acosta has served as RA in 1B.

Megan McAdoo has served as RA in 2A.

Isabel Meunch has served as RA in 2B.

Claire Kramer has served as RA in 3A.

Madeline Donohue has served as RA in 3B.

These women have sacrificed study time, social life and given themselves to so many of you.  They are great role models and each of them has a servant heart.  Each of them and as a group has impressed me.  I think we can all agree that they are friendly, welcoming and helpful.

 

We owe a debt of gratitude to Allyse Gruslin who has been our fearless leader and has loved all of us.  She has made many personal sacrifices for us as she lead us with a servant heart.  She will marry the love of her life, Chris, and together they will reflect God’s love to all they meet during their journey through life.  Let us pray in thanksgiving for Allyse and Chris as they will soon become husband and wife.

 

Our Hall Government has made life in Ryan wonderful.  There were many events and the leadership of Caitlin, Jenny and Snarpy, Terese and Julia along with various commissioners made them a lot of fun and helped people get to know each other.

 

I think everyone should appreciate all that our many bakers did throughout the year.  I know that every baker, whether you were there every Tuesday or a few times, gave their talents because of love for all of you.  There were the leaders like CoCo, Mary Carroll and Jenny Moore and the many Sophomores and the rookie of the year baker, Kate Mulshine .  You all made Tuesday’s special.

 

I am praying for all of you and hope you have a safe and renewing summer and future.  May you know you are loved.

 

Love you!

FJ

 

 

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May 3, 2018

Ryan Blog

May 3, 2018

 

Congratulations!  You have completed classes for this semester.  There are many of you who fall into stress mode because you have a fear of failure or that you will not do well.  I want to remind you that you were accepted to Notre Dame because you have done well in school since kindergarten and I hope you have gained confidence in all those years.  You should also remember that you have been working hard all this semester and that grades are not going to change that much.  Be confident and do your best.

 

Study days can be a challenge if you do not fit rest, eating well and exercise into your study routine. I would also suggest that you spend quality time with friends that can give you a chance to have a break. If you decide to go out every night until Sunday, you may have some challenges in gearing up for exams.  Life is all about making good decisions and keeping things in balance while not losing your focus. The bottom line in all of this is to take good care of yourself.

 

I want to share something will all of you.  I have a friend who works for ACE and also teaches English.  His office is right down the hall from me.  I walk by his office five or six times a day.  Today I noticed for the first time a sign that has been on the wall for two years.  The sign says this:

Words are our

Most

Inexhaustible

Source

0f

Magic

You probably know these words from reading Harry Potter and this quote is in the seventh book.  That is what my friend told me.  I did not know because I have never read any of the books.  I know many of you have read them all and some of you have read them many times.

 

I decided today that I am going to read all of the books because my friend told me that it would be worthwhile and I am looking for a new book to read.  My friend gave me his copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.  I am committed to this and I look forward to it.

 

I want you to know that I love you and all of the residents of Ryan Hall!  This is an amazing place to live because it is a beautiful Hall, but each of you is really special.

I am praying for you that the days ahead will be good.

 

Love you!

FJ

 

April 25, 2018

This week has been a wonderful week.  The Dome, Notre Dame Yearbook, described Ryan Hall as dedicated to Community and Service.  I really like that description because it brings out how most of you experience this wonderful place we call home.

Let me tell you how this week has been phenomenal.

Cara Molulon asked if we could do something for the women of BP after Sister Mary died.  I liked the idea and at the same time thought this would be a challenge.  I spoke with a BP RA who suggested we wait to bring FJ’s to them because they had received a lot of food.  We decided to do it last night.

I knew that I could not do this by myself so I asked for volunteers to bake on Monday for BP and then on Tuesday for us.  This was to be a big undertaking and it was to be in two places at once. The women of Ryan came through in that about 15 came to bake on Monday and about 20 on Tuesday.  I was thrilled that this was going to happen.

There were five people who came over to BP to set up the cookies, brownies and other treats along with ice cream.  The women of BP were grateful for what this event.  I was inspired because I know how much work many people put in to this while also doing our normal weekly event here. Many people asked about how often we do this in Ryan.  They were amazed to hear this is a weekly event.

I want to thank everyone who bakes in Ryan.  You create so much and it is done out of love for our residents as well as our weekly visitors.  We have served thousands of cookies and have built community through this.  We have also provided an opportunity for some Alumni Hall men to get to know us as they have helped with washing dishes and trays.  It has taken a lot of people  to have a great event that makes Tuesdays in Ryan special.

I have described some wonderful events this week.  There was something else that happened last night when we had a senior event.  We had a great time reminiscing about the last four years.  I have never heard so much laughter and felt so much joy as when people shared great stories about Ryan.

We have a lot to be grateful for our lives at Notre Dame.  I have always said that you, the students, are the best part of this place.  We have a beautiful campus, but that comes in second to all of you and what you bring and share every day.  I always thank God for all of you.

Love you!

FJ

April 11, 2018

I have been absent for the last three weeks because I have been sick, working and a little travel.  This does not mean I have not thought about you.  I pray for the women of Ryan Hall every day because we are a community who cares about each other.  You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

I know it was disappointing that Ryan Hall did not receive either the Hall of the Year Award or the Women’s Hall of the Year Award. I know that the Executive Board under the leadership of Caitlyn Clinton, Allison Snarponis, Julia Corbin and Terese Schomogyi.  They worked very hard and created many great events that built community and made Ryan a home for everyone.  Everyone is welcome here and this is something to be proud of.  So Caitlyn, Snarpy, Julia and Terese hold your heads high and know we know what you did and you led us in an extraordinary way and we love you.

I had some people tell me they were happy for Dillon to get Hall of the Year and they know Fr. Paul Doyle is a friend and I did spend 20 years living there.  That was very touching that some people thought that and it shows that our home is where really good people live. This is an example of the way Ryan Women are great people and it reminds me of how special it is to live with all of you.  I hope you realize how fortunate you are to be around greatness.

This weekend is Wheel Chair Basketball that is one of the signature events of Ryan Hall.  Emily Voorde started this event to help us raise awareness of the challenges people with disabilities face.  Basketball is not an easy sport because it can be hard to make a basket.  It is even harder to do it from a wheel chair.  Get four of your friends together and come out to the courts and join in.  It is a lot of fun.  I even have a team so you can do it also.  It is not a huge time commitment because you only play for a few minutes.  Invite your friends from other halls to participate.

I think it is important as this semester finishes and the end of the academic year means that our seniors will graduate, many juniors will leave for study abroad either first semester or second and everyone else leaves for the summer.  This is a challenging time because it is not easy to say good-bye.  There are a three weeks of classes and then Finals week that give us the opportunity to spend quality time with friends.  My advice of trying to do this good bye thing for over 33 years is to begin it now and do not leave it to the last minute.  Remember, Finals in the Spring Semester  means you have to study, pack up your things that can create additional stress. Be kind and good to each other during these next few weeks.

Know that I am praying for you.

Love you!

FJ

February 28, 2018

These last few weeks have been difficult with many tests, but Spring Break will be here soon.  I hope you are doing well and I know you are looking forward to Spring Break.

There are many plans that have been made which include sun and the beach for many of you.

CoCo Kelly and Snarpy have the most unique plans.  They are flying to Ireland next Thursday and CoCo will go to Scotland and Snarpy to France for the first weekend and then return to Dublin to spend the week with their friends who are studying abroad this semester.  They will get to see a lot of Ireland and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.  That should be a unique experience.

Julie Forte, Meaghan Flynn and Ally Rudd are going to Florida.  Julia and Meaghan’s mothers will be joining them so I am confident they will have some good meals while on Break.  Julia will be leaving Florida and meeting Megan Crowley for the second weekend.

There are many of you who will be going home for some much needed rest and relaxation.  Whatever you are doing, be safe and enjoy yourselves because it has been a long stretch of cold and snow since January.

We are thinking about Spring Break, but we are in the midst of Lent.  I was thinking about something to consider changing.  This is not a time to give up things, but it is a spiritual journey in which we can reflect on how we approach life.  There are times that we can get overburdened with work and the pressure of our self imposed expectations.  There is one thing that I am thinking about and that is my attitude towards others.  Most of us have a pretty good attitude and there are times when we are not at our best.  Have you ever noticed that the people we love the most are the ones that we do not treat very well.  It can be to take out our frustrations on them.  I know that parents can be hurt when their son or daughter does not respond to their phone calls.  We can also shut out our friends by saying we are too busy for them.  You can also disconnect from people by not listening to them.

This does not mean you have to drop everything and respond immediately to your parents or friends.  You can do a simple thing.  Say to someone “this is not a good time and I will get back to you.”  This is a way to change your attitude and show your loving self.

I am praying that you continue to grow in wisdom and grace during Lent.

Love you!

FJ

February 21, 2018

Greetings and best wishes to all of you.  I hope you are having a good week.  It seems like there are lots of tests and people are feeling some stress.  I hope you can step away and relax and come to Mass tonight to celebrate the Second Week of Lent.  I encourage you to attend and come with a friend.

I heard a beautiful story about love from a student that I want to share with you.  This student said that she was struggling with her grades and was feeling stress and disappointment with herself.  She was not in a good space.  She went on to say that maybe Notre Dame was not the place for her and talked with her parents about the situation.  This was a conversation that has really helped her because her parents told her that her grades should not be ruining her life.  They encouraged her to do as well as she can and it is most important that she become her best self.

That was a great revelation for the student and it was life is all about.  I have known what it is to be disappointed in my life.  I had an experience that lasted for two years that has changed my life.  I was the Interim Director of Campus Ministry during that time and I did this job and knew what it meant to be interim.  It is a little word that can make you feel unwanted and somewhat worthless.  I worked at and led the staff and loved the work and I was pleased that I was able to minister to and with Notre Dame students.  It has always been my goal to love and serve you.

I was wondering what I would do when my Interim job ended.  I worried about it and then Father Tim Scully, the founder of the ACE Program, asked me if I would come to work for ACE.  I was not expecting this invitation and I did say yes to this.  I want you to know that I love what I do and I am so thankful to Father Tim and to my colleagues whom I get to work with. I tell my family and friends that I have my dream job working at ACE and living in Ryan.

I have struggled and I have found joy in my life.  You need to know that we all have times when we do not get achieve what we want.  It is possible to be rejected and that can turn into a blessing.  Most Notre Dame students have always done well academically and have been successful in things they wanted.  But you might have discovered that this does not always happen and you may be rejected for a job or lost and election, but you will discover something else.  There are times when we have to trust in God, the people who love us and be open to new opportunities.

Know that I love you and I am pray for you everyday.  Remember, the best is yet to come.

Love you!

FJ

 

February 14, 2018

We celebrate today Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.  I hope you have a good day and that you take a moment to reflect of what each day means and how they are pointing us to bring together.  Both days are about love.

Let us look at what Ash Wednesday means.  There are many people who look upon today and the rest of Lent as doing something to deprive yourself and sacrifice what you love.  Say you have decided to give up sweets for Lent.  You start doing it and then feel miserable after about a week and then in a couple of weeks give up on it.  The result you might feel like you have failed Lent once again.

Lent is about making a change in our lives and learning how to love God and each other.  We are invited to turn away from evil and turn to God.  What could be evil in life?  It might be several things that happen here at Notre Dame.

  1. There are many times that we do not take care of ourselves. You might not be getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy meals.  Do you use the excuse of being too busy to tend to what is important for living a balanced life style?
  2. Do you ever feel you are in competition with your roommate or friends to get the best grades, be popular and get that outstanding summer internship? Are you jealous of others whom you assume are doing better than you?
  3. Do you find you do not communicate with your parents, family members or friends at home? Are you just too busy for people you love?
  4. Do you find that you do not have time for prayer and decide not to go to Mass because you have a paper to write or test to prepare for?

These are just some of the things that may taking you away from being the best person you can be and as a result you do not feel good about whom you are becoming. You might have a hard time loving your neighbor because you struggle with self-worth.

If you are feeling any of these things, I suggest you look to how you have been loved in your life.  You were created by love and you are made in the image and likeness of God.  Love is what life is about and it is love that will help you find the joy that brings so much to us. This is where Valentine’s Day comes into Ash Wednesday.  We need to learn how to love and Jesus is calling us to discover love.

I want you to know I am praying for you and I love you.  I love all of you because you have brought your gifts and talents to Notre Dame and Ryan Hall.  You make life better by your very being.  Celebrate and enjoy this love day and soften your heart to receive love.  Happy Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.

Love you!

FJ

February 7, 2018

I pray that you are doing well as our cold and snow continues through this month of February. There has been a great community spirit as we celebrated Roar Week that ended with the dance last Friday.  Everyone had a great time which is really good.

I do not know about you, but it seems very early to begin Lent on Valentine Day.  But that is how things are working out and we will celebrate Easter on April 1st.  Someone said last night that Spring Break is only four weeks away.  This is another weekend to celebrate as many of your Dads will be coming.

Let us look at our lives and how we can approach Lent this year.  We hear in Matthew’s gospel that the spiritual practices we are called to consider are Prayer, Fasting and Alms giving.  I would suggest that it is too much to take on all three.  I am choosing to focus on fasting and alms giving.  Let me share what I want to do for Lent this year.  It is not always about food or sweets when we consider fasting.

I am planning to fast from the many things I have in my room that I never use.  I need to examine how I have clothes that I never wear and plan to give them away.  I was cleaning out a sock drawer that is loaded.  I thought to just throw them away and then remembered that homeless people can use them. This is how I am connecting fasting with alms giving.

I want to fast from saying negative things about people.  It is easy for everyone to get involved in gossip.  I can think of many times in my Holy Cross Community that someone brings up negative things about another member.  It is easy to jump on board and add to the conversation, but I plan to avoid these conversations.  My response to the negative is to bring up something positive or write a note of affirmation to someone.

I have decided it is fasting and giving which can be acts that bring about change in my life and become more positive and loving towards everyone.  This may sound strange to you, but I can love everyone in Ryan Hall more easily than I can love everyone in Holy Cross.  This Lent will be a time to work on sharing love and compassion with those I have vowed to live in community.

These are some of things that I am planning to do and it is important that you think of something you want to do that will make a difference in how you grow in your relationship with Jesus during this Lent.

I am praying for you as we begin Lent next week.

Love you!

FJ

 

January 31, 2018

This is a great week for all of Ryan Hall.  It is impressive to see the amazing schedule of interesting events that are planned with the big dance on Friday night.  This is a week to spread Ryan love in the hall and throughout campus.

How are you going to spend Super Bowl Sunday?  You might have many plans, but we would love you consider coming to the Ryan/ Duncan Mass at Duncan Hall and eating dinner together before the big game. We had two masses with our brother dorm last semester and this is the first of this semester.  This is a good way to share in God’s love.  Remember, there will not be Mass on Sunday in the Ryan Chapel and we are going to Duncan for a 4:30 Mass.

I am inspired by some interesting things that Ryan women are doing.  Most have found ways to develop their gifts and talents.  Let me share some of them.

I did not know this until I talked to Claire Kramer that she loves sports and she is a writer for the Associated Press.  She met someone who helped her get connected with them and she has written articles about Notre Dame sports.  Claire says that she loves the stories beyond the story of a game and learns many interesting things.  I find her career path as somewhat out of the box since she wants to work for an NFL team.  She also had a grant that helped her go to Storrs, Ct. to interview people at ESPN.

Caitlin Crosby is a senior who loves Shakespeare and is involved with a student group that puts on various plays.  It is total student run and it gives students the opportunity to direct, stage and perform in different Shakespeare plays.

Britt Restic is a senior who was in a class last semester that connects students with children who are in foster care.  She has brought hers to Ryan a few times and they came to bake.  It was a lot of fun for this girl and helped her and Britt make a nice connection.

Caitlin Clinton, Allison Snarponis, Terese Schomogyi and Julia Corbin are doing a great job of leading the Ryan Hall government.  They really care about making Ryan a great place to live.  They are not only great leaders, but they are even better women.

CoCo Kelly is the leader of the bakers that put out so many great treats for the woman of Ryan and our guests.  We have some amazing others who make great things for all of us and I do not thank them enough. Anyone can come and bake and all you have to do is stop in.

Annie Lawler has not gone abroad yet so she has been visiting.  She says Notre Dame is a lot of fun when you don’t have any classes or pressure to worry about.  I know I miss all the women who are abroad and send them prayers and love.  I pray for all of you.

Love you!

FJ

January 17, 2018

Welcome back!  It is good that we are together once again.  There are many new people who have returned from study abroad and transfers from other halls and other schools.  We begin this task of building the Notre Dame community.

It was good to spend time and celebrate Christmas and the New Year with family and friends.  I was able to visit family in Michigan and California.  It was good to be with all of them as I have many great nieces and nephews who bring much enthusiasm and joy to Christmas.  I went with my sister, a nephew and his wife and their one and a half year old son to the Oakland Zoo.  It was amazing to look at the many animals and see his reaction.

We have begun a new semester and it is good to reflect on last semester and examine how we have grown in our personal lives and as a community. This type of reflection helps us as we look ahead to the future.  I believe there are three questions to look at we think about the present.  These questions are:

Who are you becoming?

What gifts and talents do you have to give to the world?

Whom do you want to live your life with?

I am not saying you have to have the answer to these questions today, tomorrow or even the end of this semester.  These are questions that stay with us our entire lives and our answers change as we experience life.  I do not what your answers will be , but I do know that we are surrounded by great people in Ryan Hall and at Notre Dame and that we have wonderful people who care about these questions and they are willing to listen  to you.  This is the beauty of this community and I hope you are discovering people who are inspiring you to become your best self.

There was a tragedy yesterday at Washington State University when the starting quarterback was found dead because of a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.  This is a terrible thing to hear about and very sad that a young person who seemed to have a lot going for his life would take his own life.  I know it hurts because his family and friends are struggling with what went wrong and what could they have done for him.  Nobody will ever know the answer to those questions and it is a reminder to us to be aware of the beautiful lives that every person has been given.  We are all made in the image and likeness of God and we are called to love everyone.  This is what God asks us to consider.  We are made by love and come into the world to love.  I believe that the most important question God asks us at the end of our lives is this.  Did you love everyone who was a part of your life?

I hope we can be inspired to be aware of each other, love each other  and learn how to forgive each other.  Let love guide you this semester.  I am praying for love to be at the center of our lives in Ryan Hall.

Love you!

FJ