When the Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team faces the Tennessee Volunteers this afternoon in the NCAA basketball tournament, it will be guided by Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team’s 98-year-old chaplain.
Sister Jean, now famous ( judging from the pages that turn up when you Google her name), may currently be best known for her ministry to the Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team at Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. But to locals, she is also known as the former teacher and principal at St. Brendan’s Elementary School on Manhattan Place in the St. Andrews Square neighborhood.
We learned about Sister Jean’s local connection thanks to Jane Hawley, a Windsor Square resident and parent of several St. Brendan’s alums. (Hawley’s son Nolan is also currently a senior at Loyola High School here in Los Angeles, and will attend Loyola University Chicago in the fall of 2018.)
Hawley explained that Sister Jean was the principal at St. Brendan’s at one time during her twenty-year tenure at several elementary schools here in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Later she was assigned to the Education Department of Mundelein College, where she served until its affiliation with Loyola University in 1991. Since that time, Sr. Jean has been “an academic advisor, campus minister…Chaplain to the men’s basketball team and to Regis Hall residents,” according to the Loyola website.
Also according to Loyola, Sister Jean is currently “responsible for the SMILE Program (Students Moving Into the Lives of Elderly), a partnership between Loyola students and residents of The Clare Retirement Facility. In her Regis apartment, she conducts a weekly prayer group composed of students from various halls, including her work with the men’s basketball team.”
With their secret weapon, Sister Jean, the Loyola Ramblers are ready to take on their competition. To see our own local hero in action, be sure to tune in this afternoon at 3 pm for the game.