We would first like to welcome back all members of the Notre Dame community for the start of the Spring semester and of a brand new decade. Big spring events are already starting to take shape, such as the Keenan Revue, Junior Parents Weekend and the Senior Class 100 Days Dance. This semester promises to be one filled with new adventures, exciting classes and wonderful memories with friends.
As we start this year, however, our hearts are heavy with grief for the loss of our beloved Notre Dame family member, Annrose Jerry. For those who did not have the opportunity to get to know Annrose, she was a senior, pre-dental student who lived in Breen-Phillips Hall and was a member of the Notre Dame Folk Choir and the Glynn Family Honors Program. Beyond her ‘Notre Dame introduction,’ however, Annrose was someone known for her loving heart and deep faith, her strong devotion to her academics and her spirit of servant leadership shown through the Folk Choir. Annrose had a way of mediating the grace of God and the spirit of our vibrant, loving Catholic faith with her flute every Sunday in the Basilica loft.
For many who knew her, Annrose’s sudden passing comes as an absolute shock and has left an air of questioning and guilt lingering over the campus. These past few days have been unbelievably difficult as our community has been grieving together and trying to make sense of it all.
When something like this happens we tend to search for an answer to the “Why?” question, but we may never arrive at the answer. As our community holds the life and legacy of Annrose in everything that we do and begins to heal together, we encourage you all to seek out the help that you will need.
As someone noted to us the other day, the most fantastic thing about the parable of the Prodigal Son is not the feast that happens at the end or even the beautiful embrace of father and son, but rather the moment when the son acknowledges that he needs help and decides to seek it out. Help does not just have to take the shape of counseling, though it can and it should if that is what you need. It can also mean a talk with a rector, a dinner with a friend, a trip off campus to Chicory Cafe or even skipping class to take a nap. There are truly no words profound enough to express the pain that we all feel at this moment, but know that your Notre Dame community is here to hold you and walk with you through this time.
As always, the door to 203 LaFortune is always open for anyone who would like to talk, share a cup of hot chocolate or be around others. We have both been deeply inspired by the amount of grace, love and compassion that our Notre Dame community has shown over these past few days. This strong community was perhaps best exemplified by the more than 300 people who decided to stand outside of the Basilica when it was already at capacity inside for Annrose’s Memorial Mass.
Be kind to yourselves, be kind to each other and be present for one another. Grieving takes time and is not easy, but you have the resources around you to hold you in love and grace and to help you to walk through this.
In Notre Dame,
Elizabeth & Pat