When I was younger, I remember sitting in the family room of my house. The house was drafty on cold Sundays in December but the fire infused warmth into my small bones as I perused the old volumes nestled within the dark recesses of the bookshelves. One day I stumbled upon a book of adages, and one in particular has remained with me into adulthood. My childhood brain latched onto the phrase “The family that prays together, stays together.”

Last week, I spoke with a friend on the phone and as I ended the conversation I said, “When I get home, I’ll let you know the answer.” After hanging up, I realized that the home I referenced was in fact 424 Breen-Phillips Hall, not 105 Hawthorne Road, as it has always been in the past. My dorm has become my home; my friends and acquaintances within it, my family.

Especially in the cold winter months to come, I know that returning to my dorm, whether it be after a long day of class or a prolonged stay in the library, will provide warmth, comfort and solace. Home soothes one’s spirit and offers a resting place unlike any other.

With my first semester of college complete, I now know that the most grounding part of my week is Sunday night dorm mass. Despite the hectic events of the week or weekend, mass continually brings me back to what is truly important; namely, that I seek to live each day in the image and likeness of God. Sharing such a centering experience with my dorm family brings us closer, both as friends and in our spirits as we recognize that we are striving for the same goal.

As we embrace after the sign of peace, our hugs—even to those we don’t know—provide an overt signal that we have each others’ backs, come what may. As the depths of winter approach and we all realize the bits of our souls in darkness, dorm mass allows us to come back to the light and warmth of our new homes and families to give thanks.


Kate Hardiman is a freshman living in Breen-Phillips Hall. She is currently living in great terror of February weather if December is this cold. Contact her at khardima@nd.edu.