Loyola-Chicago and their newly minted celebrity 98-year-old team chaplain Sister Jean have reached the Final Four, and folks at St. Joseph College couldn’t be happier for her.
“I’m very overjoyed to see the success of a Jesuit institution,” said St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D, who plans to tune in Saturday when the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers play Michigan in San Antonio, Texas, for a chance to play in the NCAA men’s basketball championship on Monday. “(Sister Jean) has really gotten behind her school.”
Sister Jean Prays the Way for Loyola-Chicago
As March Madness’ Cinderella team, Loyola-Chicago is playing in its first Final Four since 1963. Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt became famous overnight when the Ramblers edged favored Miami in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Her stardom — Sister Jean bobble heads, giveaways at regular season games in 2011 and 2015, were suddenly selling for over $300 on eBay — continued to skyrocket following Loyola-Chicago’s subsequent wins over Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State.
This Sister Jean bobblehead, given out at Loyola in 2011 & 2015, sold for $330 on eBay today. pic.twitter.com/ecL3IuiqJI
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 22, 2018
Fans have been drawn to her endearing spirit and her kinship with the Loyola-Chicago players. It’s become routine for TV reporters to seek her out for happy court-side interviews following her team’s victories — wins that some have credited to the divine intervention she prayed for before each game.
“I’m amazed by the student-athletes’ admiration for her. Her innocence and genuineness have won people over,” said S. Suzanne E. Franck, C.S.J., Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies and director of SJC Long Island’s Academic Advisement Center. “Sister Jean celebrates their joy. People are looking for good news. This certainly is an uplifting story — to see young people really caring about an older person.”
Some Loyola Allegiance
Dr. Boomgaarden spent about 15 years as a professor and administrator at various Jesuit schools, including 10 total at Loyola-Maryland and Loyola-New Orleans.
“Seeing Loyola-Chicago do so well is very touching to me,” he said. “One of the things about the Jesuit schools that I admire so much — and I think we have it here — is that athletics is a wonderful way for students to show school spirit.
“And I think that I can only say I’m a little jealous. I wish that we could get into the Final Four someday, but I know that that’s quite a ways off,” Dr. Boomgaarden added, smiling.
Watch the Game
Sister Jean’s Loyola-Chicago semi-final matchup with Michigan tips off at 6:09 p.m. Saturday on TBS. The Final Four is at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The Best Sister Jean Tweets
“They see me rollin, they hatinnn” -Sister Jean pic.twitter.com/kLSB2GHNvj
— Preston Caparanis (@pcaps4) March 23, 2018
Gotta love Sister Jean! Go Ramblers! pic.twitter.com/tKhzxqkl9F
— Lisa Van Genderen (@3strikesurout) March 23, 2018
Sister Jean is the new 🐐
— rhettdotcom (@rhettdotcom) March 23, 2018