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Be Not Afraid: You Are Not Alone

“Do not fear, for I am with you, be not afraid, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)

These words echo in the hearts of many of us in the Notre Dame family. The past few years have been strenuous, to say the least, both for our school and our country. We students have never before experienced such unrest, turmoil and division. In the challenges and hardships of our everyday lives, it is so easy to forget that our Lord God is with us in all things.

We as a nation overturned an immense court decision that will have an effect on the lives of our families, our friends and our peers. In a world filled with death, we have truly taken the first step toward building a culture of life. For those unaware of the existent networks of support, protection, dependence, radical hospitality and abundant love for women in crisis, this decision understandably evokes a lot of fear.

In a post-Roe world, our society must remember the responsibility we have to each other: to support and protect the dignity and value of every human life, mother and child. We as human beings are intrinsically dependent on one another. We must rely on others for support and care, providing them the same in return.

We must learn to be not afraid. We must embrace the understanding that we are not alone. We must embrace the call to abundantly love and serve one another. In the words of the Gospel, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (John 4:18).

We see the division on our campus, and in our nation, on the issue of abortion. We understand the fear and anxiety of those who are uncertain of what the future holds. It is with all this in mind that we call each and every one of you to join us in reflecting upon our role in creating a society with respect and support for all human life.

As stated by Professor O. Carter Snead, Director of the Notre Dame De Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, in a post-Roe America, it has never been more important to ensure the “intrinsic equal dignity and value of every human life and to create a society where every child (born and unborn), mother and family is welcomed into a network of support and protection and loved unconditionally, from conception throughout the human lifespan.”

In accordance with the mission of the University and the Catholic Church, we embrace the fact that “appropriate and effective programs of support for new life must be implemented, with special closeness to mothers who, even without the help of the father, are not afraid to bring their child into the world” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae).

By supporting local and national organizations and initiatives, maternity leave policies, childcare benefits, adoption and foster care, education, housing, employment and health care, we are prepared to show women that they need not be afraid and that they will never be alone. We reflect this sentiment in our theme for this year’s Respect Life Week programming: Be Not Afraid: You Are Not Alone.

This Respect Life Week will feature prayer, service and educational initiatives as we remind one another to trust in God, remain peaceful in uncertainty and support one another in our needs both big and small. Supporting each person’s unique and intrinsic dignity begins with recognizing the gift that your life is to others. God is with you in all things, He has a plan for you and He will never leave you alone.

We invite you to join us in welcoming Robin Sertell, author of Miracles Happen in the Wilderness and known for her story of surviving three separate abortion attempts while in her mother’s womb. Her keynote address, Abortion Isn’t Final: Exposing the secrets that the abortion industry doesn’t want you to know, will be held in the LaFortune Ballroom on September 29th at 7 pm.

Gather with us after 10 am Basilica Mass on Sunday, September 25th for brunch and fellowship in the LaFortune Ballroom. Partner with us in supporting mothers in a post-Roe world as we hold a week-long maternity clothing drive for the Family Resource Center and volunteer at the Women’s Care Center. Pray with us for the lives lost to abortion as we hold a memorial for the unborn on Wednesday, September 28th. A full schedule of the week’s events can be found here.

We invite you to join us on our mission this year, to abundantly and joyfully love and support others and to discover in return the fruits of a society that understands the nature of the human condition: we are dependent on one another, we support one another and no one, truly, is alone.

In life and love,

Merlot Fogarty
President Notre Dame Right to Life

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News

Eating Disorder Awareness Club educates on body image, resources

Editor’s note: This article contains discussions of eating disorders.

The Eating Disorder Awareness Club (EDAC) was founded by Julia O’Grady, a senior at Saint Mary’s College, during the summer of 2021. Since then, the club has expanded to include a Notre Dame chapter led by junior Mollie McKone. The Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame chapters work together, and EDAC represents the tri-campus community. 

McKone explained that the mission of EDAC is to build a community with those afflicted by eating disorders.

The mission of EDAC is “to make a place where people can find resources and find other people who may have struggled in the past and have a community and a network of people they can talk to,” McKone said. 

O’Grady said previously, there was no organization on campus allocated for eating disorders, and she formed the club to be a place for education.

EDAC was formed to “advocate for those who have experienced, are experiencing or may be at risk for experiencing an eating disorder,” she said. “The goal is to educate and break down stigmas that are associated with eating disorders and to promote awareness about the proper way to go about educating about eating disorders.”

MccKone seconded the need to destigmatize eating disorders.

“We saw a need for an organization that advocated [for] and recognized that there needs to be a culture shift on college campuses about the way we look at eating and the way we have discourse about eating and exercising and recognizing that there is a real problem,” McKone said. 

McKone explained that eating disorders are prevalent on college campuses due to people attempting to gain control over their lives during a time of change.

“Unfortunately, food and exercise are really easy things to grasp on to [and control], and a lot of people find themselves in an unhealthy situation,” McKone said. 

EDAC hopes to bring attention to the resources that are available on campus for those who may be struggling with an eating disorder, McKone said.  

“The University Counseling Center (UCC) has a [few] therapists that specialize in eating disorders. But, they were seeing such an influx in cases of not only people who are being diagnosed with eating disorders, but people who are coming back from residential treatment reintegrating into Notre Dame,” McKone said. “The UCC doesn’t have the resources for [this demand].”

O’Grady explained that EDAC hopes to supplement the services offered by UCC with its own events. The club plans to host a mindfulness yoga event to work on developing healthy coping mechanisms. EDAC will also plan weekly trips to the grocery store to provide people with a safe space and extra support while grocery shopping.

Another initiative is the body positive project which is being led by sophomore Bella Henriques, McKone noted.

“[The movement] was started through Stanford research which talks about how food insecurity creates eating habits and how the way we talk about diet culture affects eating disorders,” she explained.

The goal of the project is to train people to run discussion sessions and equip them with the necessary resources to talk about eating and exercising. These sessions will be free for anyone to attend, whether they are a part of the club or not, McKone said. 

In addition, EDAC is looking forward to participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week). NEDAwareness Week takes place the last week of February and is a campaign to educate people about eating disorders and support those affected by eating disorders. 

Last year for NEDAwareness Week, EDAC partnered with Active Minds for “In Our Own Words,” a student-led conversation where students sent in submissions about their experiences with eating disorders and shared their stories. Other events included conversations about body image and a candlelight vigil at the Grotto, McKone explained.

Although EDAC is a relatively new club, they are looking to gain new members and form a Holy Cross chapter, McKone said. Anyone in the tri-campus community is welcome to join the club or attend any of the events. 

O’Grady said the most memorable part of being involved with EDAC has been getting to know people from the tri-campus.

“[I enjoy] getting to know girls at St. Mary’s that I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. They have been so supportive in my recovery journey,” she said.

EDAC has group meetings every month and more information can be found on EDAC’s Instagram @ed_awareness_club.

Caroline Collins

Contact Caroline at ccolli23@nd.edu