CHICAGO, Illinois (KETK) – Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who gained a national following as the chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball team during their run to the Final Four in 2018, celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday.
The school where she is such a fixture put on a birthday bash for the nun who has spent more than half her life there.
Sister Jean, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary since 1937, has long been one of the Ramblers’ biggest fans. But she soared to national attention in 2018 as Loyola-Chicago battled its way to the Final Four with her firmly planted on the sidelines.
A former basketball player and coach herself, she was reported to give the players a scouting report and lead them in prayer before each game.
Her love for her team has been fully reciprocated. According to ESPN, Loyola licensed more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts and a bobble-head figure.
So to celebrate her birthday, the folks at Loyola-Chicago put on quite a party, making clear what she meant not just to the basketball team but to the entire Loyola-Chicago community.
A packed house sang Happy Birthday as she blew out her candles.
And with the smile and spirit that made an entire nation fall in love with the nun decked out in her school’s maroon and gold, Sister Jean thanked everyone for being a part of her life.
“When I hear these wonderful things, I think, oh my goodness, there’s more responsibility being put on my shoulders,” she said. “I have to keep doing it now. I can’t stop doing it. But God bless each one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“When we talk about this fan club, we do have fan clubs, and I include all of you,” she told those gathered to celebrate her life. “Anybody who’s ever touched my life, I keep praying for you. I can’t pray for you all by name, otherwise my knees would get too sore. So thank you and God bless everyone of you. And go Ramblers!”