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!



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!



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!


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!



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!


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!


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!


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!



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!



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!