December 7, 2017

Congratulations!  You have completed classes for the Fall 2017 Semester.  Now is the time to prepare for Final Exams and to complete all of those papers.  Study Days are important to rest and get ready for next week.

Here are some things to make sure that you do during these days.

  1. It is important to get plenty of sleep.  Do not pull all night study.  You will be worn out and you may go into a test overly tired.  I know someone who decided to lay down for an hour and did not wake up in time for a test.  Remember, sleep is essential and keeps you alert.
  2. Eat balanced meals in order to have energy to focus on study and do well during your test. Remember, food gives you the strength to do your best.
  3. Exercise every day for an hour. It will help you feel good about yourself as you go into your test.  Remember, you can over study and exercise lets you pay attention to your body.
  4. Be confident! You were accepted to Notre Dame because you have been successful in your studies in high school and your previous academic experience has helped you have confidence in your ability.  Remember, you are a talented and gifted woman who can do great things.
  5. You will only hurt yourself if you compare your grades to those of your friends. You have the ability and you are not in a race with others.  Everyone you know wants you to be yourself and that you will feel good about yourself.  People generally get unhappy when they think everyone around them is smarter.  Remember, comparing yourself to others brings out the worst in you.
  6. Believe in yourself and know that you are called to become your best self. Remember, you have gifts and talents that make you special.
  7. Spend some time in prayer. Father Hesburgh said the most important prayer he prayed was this one.  “Come Holy Spirit.”  It is brief and he prayed it whenever he answered the phone and before every important decision he made.  Remember, prayer can enable you to dedicate your tests and work to the Lord.
  8. Just do your best and everyone who knows and loves you will be proud of you.

Ryan Hall is a special place because we care about each other.  Let us be committed to encouraging each other as you go to your tests.  When you pray, ask God to be with you and everyone you care about in Ryan and other friends on campus.  When we support and love each other, good things happen.  Be considerate and kind and know that all will be well.

Know that I will pray for you every day and ask God to help you do your best.

Love you!

FJ

Advertisements

November 29, 2017

We are back together in Ryan after our Thanksgiving Break.  It was good to have some time off before the last nine days of the semester followed by Final Exams. These can be challenging days because there is much to be finished before Christmas.

I saw the movie, Wonder, during on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This is a beautiful story about a boy who has a deformed face.  He has been home schooled for the first four years, but his parents feel that he needs to go to a regular school when he begins fifth grade.  They make this difficult decision because the parents realize their son is intelligent and needs to learn to live outside the home.  The story takes you through every emotion and you will cry, laugh and be inspired.  This story teaches us a great lesson that can help us become more accepting and tolerant of others.  There is an interesting side to the movie in that it looks into the life of his sister who adores him and who faces many challenges herself.

I have been thinking about the end of the semester can bring many challenges for us because our community will be changing.  There are many juniors going abroad and others who are returning.  This is something that happens every year and we should be used to it.  It is not easy because there are people who are special and we will miss them.  This is the story of life at Notre Dame in that many changes happen every year, but that does not mean it is easy.  I hope that we can celebrate these people who are going abroad.

Do you realize how special everyone in Ryan is?  There is much stress and fear that can come into our lives when Final Exams are coming so soon.  I think that many people forget that they have been working hard all semester and they have always done well.  You would not be at Notre Dame if you could not do the work.  There is self imposed pressure and many people are trying to please others in their academic pursuits.  Let me share a story of a Ryan graduate.

I am thinking about a person who was intelligent and did well in her studies.  But she was not very good in Chemistry.  She did not do well and she was thinking she would disappoint her parents.  She was good at Art and took several Art classes and found them fulfilling.  She was troubled and very unhappy.  She worried that Notre Dame was not the place for her and considered transferring.  She made the hardest decision of her life to put aside Science and major in Art Design.  This decision helped her feel good about herself, her parents were proud of her because she was happy and she is doing well in her work.

I hope you all know that all you can do is your best and that is all that is necessary to live a good life.  Become your best self and develop your gifts and talents and you will make a difference in the world.  I pray that all of you will achieve your dreams and find much happiness and joy.

Love you!

FJ

 

November 15, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you grateful for as you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  I would like to suggest a prayer reflection.

Your parents are important to you and have been with you since the day you were born.  They responded to your biggest needs and have been your first and best teachers.  They taught you how to love, to have faith and to hope.  They nourished you, clothed you, kept you safe and encouraged you to get an education so that you can be where you are today. Your parents have helped you to be at Notre Dame and they are so proud of you.  Be thankful for your parents, your brothers and sisters and your extended families.

Friends are important to everyone because we are made to live in community.  God has said it is not good for us to be alone.  You may have some friends that you have known all of your life and some you got to know during high school and even more here in Ryan Hall and at Notre Dame.  Your friends are the people whom you laugh with and cry with.  Friends will be with you throughout your lives and will be present at the most significant moments of your lives. Be thankful for your friends and show it by telling them you love them.

Notre Dame is a very special place and take it from someone who has lived with Notre Dame students for 33 years.  I have seen much during these years and during these times I have had the opportunity to meet great people.  We are blessed to live together in Ryan Hall and I appreciate everyone of you.  Notre Dame is here to help you grow and become your best selves as you get a great education in the classroom, in serving others and living in community.  Be thankful for the opportunity to be at Notre Dame.

This is a significant week and weekend for us as the Baraka Bouts crowned champions and Saturday will be the last home football game.  Congratulations to all of the participants and to Elinor McCatrthy, Grace Wiesend and Joy Choe on winning.  They raised money for St. Joseph School in Uganda.

The football game is when seniors are honored.  I think about the people in the Band, cheerleaders, student managers and trainers who do give so much to make a football game a community event for the Notre Dame family.

Let us be thankful to our Ryan Hall Seniors who inspire us as they have grown into such great women.  You have graced our campus for four years and you have made a variety of contributions to building our community. We are mindful of our RA’s, Brennah, Isabella, Megan, Vanessa, Claire and Madelyn.  We cannot forget our AR’s, Meredith and Sarah, who will also graduate. This is not the end, but a big moment in your Notre Dame experience.  Know you are loved. Have a great weekend and a beautiful Thanksgiving.  You are in my prayers.

Love you!

FJ

 

November 8, 2017

Happy Ryan Hall Thanksgiving week.  I hope everyone is looking forward to this wonderful event which brings us together to give thanks for all of our blessings.  This is an event that has grown over the last nine years.

Ryan Thanksgiving began in 2009 when first year students of 2A decided they wanted to celebrate together Thanksgiving.  They each made various dishes and I got the turkey and we gathered in my room for the first one.  We did it again in 2010 and added a second one in 1A.  It was decided in 2010 that we would have the entire hall come together in the 2-4 and the rest is history.  Remember, all are welcome and our celebration depends on every Ryan woman coming and eating and sharing together.  Thanksgiving is about food, friends and fun.

I have been thinking about the juniors who are abroad and those who are going to go next semester.  I think study abroad is a great opportunity for students to grow and expand their outlook on the world.  I am impressed that students can study in London, Rome, Dublin, Australia, China, Chile and many other places.  This is also a difficult time for juniors because it splits the class into groups as some go in the Fall and others in the Spring.  There are some people who will see each other for a year.  I know this causes us to miss friends in the class of 2018.  Let us pray for all of the juniors who are abroad this semester and those who are going next semester.

The first year students in the Moreau class have written a poem which is the “I am” poem.  Everyone, but the seniors, will remember doing it and some have said it was one of their favorite things they did in the class.  I see it as a way of looking into the our hearts and expressing things that we may not be thinking about every day.  Although we do not look at life as poets, it is helpful if we do this because we can learn about our true selves.  Looking deep within our selves helps us determine what matters most to us.  Remember, our education here is about the mind and the heart and what comes from the heart leads us to know what we are passionate about.

I am passionate about my love of Notre Dame.  This love is not about the institution of Notre Dame.  It is about the love of the students which means my love for you.  You matter to me and I pray that you will become the best person you can be.  I pray that you will be confident of your gifts and talents and recognize you are created in the image and likeness of God.  This really matters and this is what makes Ryan Hall our home and every person very special.

Let us give thanks for everyone in Ryan and let us pray for each other.  This is a weekend without a home football game so I hope we can celebrate together at Ryan Hall Thanksgiving.

I am praying for you.

Love you!

FJ

November 1, 2017

Happy All Saints!  Today is the day we celebrate the men and women who have gone before us and have inspired us to live as members of the Church and disciples of Jesus.  We have Mass tonight at 10 to celebrate this feast as a community.  Mass will be followed by waffles.  Come to Mass and bring a friend.

We think of the Saints as the ones who have been acknowledged by the Church.  These are people like the apostles, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare and many others.  I think of people who are not canonized, but I see them as role models in my life.  My parents and grandmother stand out and they were the ones who taught me to pray and treat people well.

I would like to mention some people who have taught me to be kind and generous and to always be hospitable and welcoming to people.

St. Andre Bessette was a Holy Cross Brother who was uneducated because he became an orphan at 12 and had to find places to live and do a variety of jobs in Montreal.  He became a Brother, but the community did not know what to do with him.  He became a door keeper at a school and through this, he welcomed people and reminded them that God loved them.  He spread God’s love by sharing hospitality and welcoming people.  I feel a closeness to him because I think an important quality of my life is to open my heart to love many people.

Father Theodore Hesburgh was President of Notre Dame for 35 years.  He was responsible for women being able to attend Notre Dame and he truly loved God and his neighbor as himself.  I think many people love God and their neighbor, but they do not love themselves.  It is this third part of love that is important for us to be open to many people.  Father Ted believed that God had given him many gifts and talents and his greatest was to make people feel good about themselves.  One needs to love one’s self in order to love others.

The third person is my best friend from Notre Dame. Vince died three years ago and he was a loving husband and father of four and he was a great friend.  He lived in Chicago and I probably talked to him three times a week.  He was a good friend because he always showed up for important events in my life.  He came to my ordination, the funerals of my sister and parents and he loved Notre Dame.

These three people are a few of the people who inspire me because they showed love and were dedicated to showing God’s love.  I pray that we can open our hearts and love others.  Let us be dedicated to being the best person we can be.  This is what it is to become saints.

Love you!

FJ

 

October 25, 2017

Welcome back to Ryan Hall!  I am happy that we are all together and that Emily Vincent has returned.  You might wonder why I mention her.  The reason is that I took care of her fish during Break and my worry was that I might kill it by feeding it too much.  Emily picked up her fish on Monday and he was alive and well. Small miracles do happen!

I think we move into the part of the Semester after Halloween up until Thanksgiving.  The weather is a little cooler and there are days like Monday and Tuesday this week which are gray and much rain. There is a need to take care of our needs by getting plenty of rest, eating balanced meals and getting exercise.  Be gentle and kind to each other and know that together things will go well.  Find a way to relax and discover peace in your hearts.

I had lunch with a Ryan grad from the class of 2013.  Katie was part of the first class that lived in Ryan for four years.  She was on campus to recruit for Google.  She was telling me that she and a colleague were speaking to a group of juniors and seniors.  She recalled when she was a Senior and attending similar events and thinking how together the presenters were.  They had good jobs and were living a good life in Chicago.  Katie said that when she was presenting today, she thought how fortunate students are to have this wonderful life of going to Notre Dame, living and studying with great people and the biggest worry is how many costumes are needed for the various Halloween celebrations.

I tell the story about Katie because I want to remind everyone to appreciate what you have here and make the most of it.  Get involved in things on campus and in South Bend.  Try to be kind and generous with your time.  I saw Claire Saltzman when she had come back from volunteering at St. Joe Hospital.  She spoke with patients, got their information and took their vital signs. This was an amazing experience because she was providing assistance to people at a time that can be stressful. Claire has learned a point I want to make.  The person who is helped the most when you focus on other people and serve them is yourself.  This is what we are called to do and an experience of helping someone else gives meaning to your Notre Dame education.

This football season has been exciting, but these seven home games can take a lot of time and energy from all of us.  It is a huge commitment.  I have seen how many of you are welcoming and good hosts to your families and friends who come for games. Your hospitality impresses people who come to campus for the weekend.  Thanks for making people feel welcome.  We have a Mass 30 minutes after the end of games and remember to invite people to come to Ryan.

I am praying for you.

Love you!

FJ

 

October 11, 2017

Congratulations, you have made it to Fall Break.  This is a time that everyone needs because you have completed much work with lots of tests and papers.  It seems like mid semester exams have been going on forever.  I was at USC on Sunday and they were going through the same thing. You are more fortunate than those students because they do not have a Fall Break.  This is one more thing that makes Notre Dame a great place.  Enjoy this coming week as you visit family and friends and relax, catch up on sleep and enjoy delicious meals that your Mom provides.  There is nothing like a good home cooked meal. There are students who will be doing service and other things next week.  They will be doing a variety of things like building homes or learning more about the environment and the care of the earth.  Some are going abroad for the week to visit families and friends.

It is hard to believe that a few weeks ago we did not know our first year students.  They have moved into Ryan and helped make this a great community.  I hope they know how much we appreciate them and how grateful we are that they are here. We have several adopted transfer students who do not live here, but they are welcome at all Ryan Hall events.  If you have not met them, try to after Fall Break.  They and the Freshmen are wonderful women and we are fortunate to have them living with us and building our community.

I want to thank all those who help clean up after FJ’s.  We have a solid plan in which members of a Section sign up and help.  We have been fortunate the last three weeks that we have had volunteers from Alumni Hall who have come to help.  They have taken some kidding, but they have all had a good experience. I want to speak about the Sections who have provided 5 or 6 women to help at the end of the night.  I have appreciated it and want to thank those who have helped.

I want to thank CoCo Kelly and  all the women who have baked this first half of the semester.  There are many experienced bakers and some first time ones.  We all know that they have produced some amazing things which puts a smile on the faces of everyone.

I want to thank Caitlyn Clinton and the members  the executive board of the Hall Government on the many events they have organized the first half of this semester.  Everything has been first class and the Formal last weekend was wonderful.  Everyone said they had a great time and made good decisions.  Congratulations to everyone.

I want to thank Allyse and the Hall Staff for their love and care for all of us.  I think we are fortunate to have people around us who are dedicated to building a great Community.  We are blessed to have these women leading us.

I will pray for safe travel and a wonderful Fall Break for everyone.

Love you!

FJ

October 5, 2017

These are sad and challenging days as we mourn the loss of life in shootings and Hurricanes. We are a country and a world that is divided and we need to discover hope in the midst of struggles. Our hope comes by embracing the cross and following Christ.  Let us be committed to praying for peace and an end to violence and war.

I saw pictures and stories of the men and women who died in the shooting in Las Vegas. It was frightening to see them because they were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives.  I was touched by the life of a woman who was a special education teacher.  She was known for her humor, passion for teaching and her love of her students.  I think about her and pray for her and think about how her students feel with the loss of a teacher who cared for them.  There were also stories of people saving a spouse or friend and being killed.  There was a beautiful story of a man saving the life of someone who was bleeding to death.  There are many other stories that show us the goodness of people in the midst of the worst mass shooting in our history.

Let us learn from the Las Vegas event that love will prevail and that we need to know how to love and care for one another.  There are people who do not respect the dignity and value of life, but that does not mean we should think less of the beauty of life and the goodness that is around us.  We need to reflect on the beauty of life and perform acts of kindness with all people.

I want to remind you of the ways you have shown love and care in serving others.  Brittany Restic was talking about a class that she has that part of it is to mentor a child in South Bend.  She meets with this girl and gives guidance and love.  She wants to bring her to Ryan on a Tuesday afternoon and teach her to bake with some of the bakers.  This is a way to teach a person and give her hope and love and to be inspired by some of you.  I am reminded of Mother Theresa who showed love to the poorest of the poor in India by small acts of love.  There are other Ryan women like Cara Molulon and Hannah Mumber who are inspired to become doctors by their studies and experience of interning in hospitals in Mexico last year. Mary Carroll and Emma Sheedy spent last summer in Uganda and did acts of kindness in teaching and medical care.

You all have the passion and inspiration around you to do amazing things for others.  Look at how Megan Crowley inspires us by her generosity and serving us as one of the Mail Clerks and Alyssa Daly and Erin Albertini serve us waffles after Wednesday Mass or CoCo Kelly always helping me in many ways.  There is love all around us and let it remind us to be passionate about doing good.  I am praying for you.

Love you!

FJ

September 27, 2017

Today is the first day that it feels like Fall.  This past week has been a challenge with the heat and humanity that we usually experience in July. I hope you are enjoying this Fall day.

I wish I could have been here for the Section Olympics, but I had a wedding in Chicago and had to miss the excitement of the day.  I am glad that everyone had a good time.  I want to congratulate all of the participants and Section 2A for coming in first.  We need to be thankful for the leadership from Hall Government as they came up with this idea.

There are several women who have been adopted by Ryan Hall this semester.  These are transfer students who did not get housing on campus.  They live in a variety of places and they are allowed to be participate in our community life.  Help them feel welcome and at home.

Many of you know that I have been living with Notre Dame students for 33 years.  I have loved the experience of sharing life with all of you and the many men and women who have gone before.  I cherish the relationships I have and I love that I knew some of the fathers of Ryan women when they were students. I was telling some people recently that after I left Dillon after 20 years that I lived in Corby Hall which is the priest residence next to the Basilica.  It was quiet and peaceful, but I missed the energy and the excitement of living with students.  I am thankful for my experience with living with you and those who went before you.

You keep my young as I have so many great  experiences in sharing in your lives.  There are two areas of life that I have because of you.  I know many people my age who live in the past and find many of the issues of our day as difficult.  I think because of my living situation and many conversations with students that I live in the present and share your journey as you think about what comes after Notre Dame.  A second thing that I learn from you is how to use social media and how to connect with people.  These are skills that are helpful for my work with ACE teachers and former residents of Ryan, PW and Dillon.

I want you all to know how much I appreciate you and how your life is going. I talk a lot about how I get to live with the greatest people. I can think of you the way Jesus speaks of his followers.  He said to them, “You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.”  These are qualities that you bring to this community and make our lives beautiful.

I hope you can appreciate your intelligence, your beauty and your generosity and your goodness.  I thank God for all of you.

Love you!

FJ

September 20, 2017

I hope you are enjoying these beautiful days at Notre Dame.  The changing colors and the mild temperatures can help us appreciate the beauty of the earth.

This has been a busy time of the year because this is the second week of a round of tests.  There are certain ones that stand out like General Chem last week, Calculus, Orgo II and Accounting have put a lot of pressure on many people.  It has been good to see the support that everyone gives to each other during a time that can be stressful. The support and encouragement we give to each other is what the Ryan Community is all about.  Let us take a look at various ways that this happens.

We all know that it starts with Allyse and the Hall Staff.  This is a given.  There are many others who have chosen to do many things from Hall Government to Athletics to the maintenance of the building.  There are those who organize events like the Ryan/ Duncan week to the reveal of the Big and Little Sisters.  You can think about the many people who sign up and do things.

I really appreciate all of the bakers who are led by CoCo Kelly, Mary Carroll, Jenny Moore who have made a big commitment to this important event which is called FJ’s.  I tell everyone that this could not be done if it were not for the 20 or 25 bakers who give of themselves for the women of Ryan and the many others who come here.  We have many men come which is good because it is drawing others to come here.  There are too many events at Notre Dame that are women going to men’s halls.  I think it is important that people see this is our home and we are glad that they are here.  Hospitality is an important part of Ryan Hall Community.

There has been a proposal that we need help on Tuesday’s for cleanup.  I love that Mary Carroll has been so generous, but she bakes and then cleans up.  It takes 15 or 20 minutes and now we are asking for people to sign up.  The RA’s will be asking people to do this and I want you to know that I appreciate your help.  It makes it easier for every one.  Sacrifice is another important part of the Ryan Hall Community.

I was thinking that it would be nice if we invited a friend to come to Mass on Sunday’s.  It is nice to attend with someone you know.  I see some people walk into the Chapel and they do not want to sit alone.  Ask the people in your section and come to celebrate the Eucharist.  We have a good celebration and it is a good way to begin the week.  Celebration of God’s love in our lives is another important part of the Ryan Hall Community.

Thank you for your contribution to our life in Ryan Hall.  Let us be good to one another and encourage each other to become our best selves.  Know that I pray for you daily.

Love you!

FJ