Tag Archives: Seniors

God Doesn’t Ask for Perfection

Melissa Gutierrez Lopez, Senior Anchor Intern

Christmas break was interesting. Not because I had an interesting experience or did anything interesting but because I came to many realizations that helped prepare me for my final semester at Notre Dame.

Over break, I realized I did not want to continue living the way that I was. When I got home, I wasn’t feeling great for I felt like I didn’t end last semester on a high note. Feeling this way, I allowed myself to fall deeper into my own disappointment. I let my insecurities and self-doubt overwhelm me and cloud my judgment about my future. I grew worried about the many important decisions I needed to make such as which post-grad service applications to complete, how to progress with my thesis, what events to plan for my job, and then choose which classes I would continue with. Engulfed with my negativity and pessimism, I found myself unable to make those decisions and unable to picture what I would do after graduation. Because of these negative emotions, I did not have the energy to interact with people. So for most of break, I minimized my interactions with my family and wasted time by mindlessly scrolling on the internet. It was not until the end of break when I had a heart to heart with my mom and sister that I realize I needed to make a change. I could not keep living with so much negativity and hopelessness. I decided to change my mindset and attitude towards life, but most of all, change how I see myself.

I started slow. First, by watching inspiring videos and then listening to an audiobook that talked about embracing imperfection and vulnerability. This book also talked about the value of joy, gratitude and authenticity, and allowed me to realize I had developed habits of self-criticism. As a result, I made an effort to become self-aware and notice when I was being too critical of myself. I also created goals that I wanted to pursue: deepen my faith, be my own advocate, and be more intentional with my actions. Most importantly, I want to be more authentic and present with others.

In the midst of these efforts, I started to see how God was helping me through this. The author of the audiobook was Catholic, so it was nice to hear how these efforts for self-compassion, vulnerability, and authenticity were related to the Catholic faith. I cognitively knew that God did not want me to live life in despair or in anxiety. I also understood that the struggles I was experiencing were not meant to defeat me, like the Spanish saying “Dios aprieta pero no ahorca.” But, I wasn’t able to truly accept this. So this new understanding of vulnerability and embracing imperfection, as presented in the book, made me realize that I can live a content life with God by being happy with who I am. I understood that life will be hard at times, and that I will fail and experience disappointment but it will be okay. Why? Because I will remember my self-worth as a child of God and that regardless of what happens, I will be okay for as he told Isaiah, “Do not fear me: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Main Quad with snow

So, that is how I came back to start my new and last semester, with a different mindset of optimism, self-compassion, and an intention of becoming more authentic with those around me. And after awhile, I felt like I was on the right track.

Just last week I was reminded of how God works in incredible ways when I attended the Taste of Faith event. I wasn’t sure if I was going to attend, but decided last minute that I actually wanted to support my fellow interns and hear Fr. Pete speak. Imagine my surprise and joy to hear Fr. Pete talk about things that I’ve been reflecting on the past couple of weeks- accepting our imperfections, being vulnerable with people, and being authentic in your encounters. In hearing Fr. Pete, it felt like God was there with me, letting me know that I was on the right path and it felt comforting. I tried to live in that moment of inspiration and recommit myself to continue my efforts for self-improvement and being authentic. This is the way God intended me to live- to rejoice in his love and mercy, love him and those around me, and most importantly, to trust in him, as is written in Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”( Proverbs 3:5-6)

As my final semester progresses, I want to maintain this mindset of trust in God and in myself. I want to be intentional with my actions and be my authentic self with those around me. After reflecting on how I want to spend my last semester at Notre Dame, I feel that it would be great to spend it open to vulnerability, self-acceptance, and authentic relationships. I can’t imagine a better way to finish my time here at ND and I’d invite my fellow seniors to do the same.

When I become too worried about my imperfections, I return to one of my favorite prayers, the Serenity Prayer, and remind myself that I am not called to be perfect, but authentic.

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

Meet Your 2017-18 Anchor Interns!

Anchor Interns, 2017-18

Did you know Campus Ministry has 11 senior Anchor Interns who desire to serve the church within our campus and assist in all areas of Campus Ministry?  Over the course of the semester, each intern will be featured on this blog which is designed to encourage you, our students, to follow God’s call in your lives.

Rosemary Agwuncha: Rosemary is originally Nigerian but was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She is majoring in Pre-Health and Thelogy, with a minor in International Development Studies. She currently lives off campus but lived in Breen-Phillips Hall during her freshman year. Rosemary’s favorite group on campus is the Notre Dame Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, because she loves to sing and they have been like a family to her since freshman year. She will be working in African-American Ministry with Becky Ruvalcaba. 

Michael Anderson: Mike is a senior from Tinley Park, Illinois, studying biochemistry and theology. While he formerly lived in Keenan Hall, he is now enjoying living off campus. He spends most of his time outside of classes doing cancer immunotherapy research though he also enjoys running, playing sports (especially volleyball), and doing service with the Knights of Columbus. He is planning on entering a MD/PhD program after graduation where he hopes to bring his Catholic values into his medical practice and research. This year, he is working with Christian to plan retreats and pilgrimages.

Regina Ekaputri: Regina is a senior studying Psychology with minors in Art History and Italian Studies. She grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, but calls Flaherty Hall her home here at Notre Dame. Regina is really passionate about education and hopes to be an educator in the future. She also enjoys making art, reading, cooking, spending time with friends, having good conversations, going to art museums, and traveling to new places. She will be working with Christian for the retreats and pilgrimages throughout the school year.

Julia Erdlen: Julia is an English major living in Ryan Hall.  She hails from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.  When she finds a spare minute, she reads fiction that wasn’t assigned for class and embroiders.  She also rings in the Handbell Choir.  Julia will be working in Liturgy with Allie Greene to assist with residence hall and other undergraduate liturgies.

Emily Greentree: Emily is a senior, with a double major in American studies and Statistics. She is a true Florida girl, hailing from the wonderful town of Jupiter Florida, but on campus she calls Ryan Hall her home. She is obsessed with all things Disney and can often be seen jamming out to music as she walks around campus. She loves spending time with her family and friends and enjoys getting to meet new people. This year she is working with Kayla August on the Compass Program.

Melissa Gutierrez Lopez: Melissa is a senior studying American Studies with a minor in Latino Studies. She is originally from Escondido, California and now calls Flaherty Hall her home under the dome. Melissa enjoys spending her spare time with her friends, but also likes to keep up with her favorite shows, journal, and spend time outdoors. This year, she is working with Becky Ruvalcaba in Latino Ministry.

Elizabeth Hascher: Elizabeth is a senior who is double majoring in political science and peace studies. A former resident of Lewis Hall, she now lives off-campus and is proud to call Grand Rapids, Michigan home. Elizabeth enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, baking, and drinking lots of coffee. She is also passionate about service and has been involved with the Center for Social Concerns throughout her time at Notre Dame. This year, Elizabeth will be working with Kayla August to develop new spirituality and outreach initiatives for campus ministry.

Danny Jasek: Danny is a senior living in Duncan Hall and studying Computer Science. He is also minoring in Theology and is passionate about the intersection of technology and faith. He is originally from Dayton, OH – home of the Wright Brothers and the professional sports team with the longest sellout streak in North America. Danny is the oldest of 5 children and enjoys spending time with his family and friends, running/playing just about any sport, spiritual reading, soundtrack music, and eating cereal at any and all times of the day. He is working with Fr. Matt Hovde and the Short Course Sacramental prep team this year.

Nathan Miller: Nathan is studying Accountancy and Theology here at Notre Dame. For the past three years he lived in Duncan Hall but for senior year is living off campus. He is originally am from Manitowoc, Wisconsin and is very passionate with his love for the Badger state! As an Anchor Senior Intern, Nathan will be working in a new area called Bible Study Ministry. His focus is to coordinate leaders, help establish community events and resources, and continually invite new students to explore a relationship with Jesus through opening the Scriptures. In his free time, he loves football, the outdoors, and listening to country music.

Flora Tang: Flora is a senior political science and theology major from Beijing, China (a whooping 15-hour-flight away from Notre Dame!), and for the past three years, has been living in the Best Place on campus– Breen-Phillips Hall. In the rare hours when she’s not engaged in political debates with friends, Flora enjoys to cook, read social justice-themed books, and dabble in painting and watercoloring. She’s looking forward to working with RCIA in Sacramental Preparation at Campus Ministry this year.

Joe Tenaglia: Joe is a senior studying Theology and American Studies. Hailing from South Weymouth, Massachusetts he now lives on campus in the great Stanford Hall. In his free time, Joe enjoys loudly and proudly supporting Boston sports teams, reading, listening to music, and above all spending time with family and friends. This year Joe will be working as part of the Retreats and Pilgrimages team, and is excited to work to provide engaging and enriching programming for his fellow students.


Anchor Interns, 2017-18