We learn something everyday. After we wrote our story about Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old chaplain for the Ramblers, the Loyola’s men’s basketball team who’d also served on the faculty and as principal at nearby St. Brendan’s elementary school, we heard from Phil Phil Sklar Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum about the debut of a limited edition Sister Jean bobblehead. Who knew there was such devotion to bobbleheads? But not surprisingly, there is great devotion to Sister Jean.
“On Friday, we released the officially licensed, limited edition bobblehead of Sister Jean from Loyola-Chicago, and within 40 hours it became the best-selling bobblehead in our history!” wrote Mr. Sklar in an email to the Buzz. “We’re thrilled to be working with the University so that more fans across the country can have a Sister Jean bobblehead.”
Since Friday, Sklar said, “we’ve been completely overwhelmed with the love for Sister Jean and her bobbleheads. In just over 24 hours, a Sister Jean bobblehead had been sold to people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada! We hit 5,000 sold in just over 48 hours. It’s now the best-selling bobblehead we’ve ever offered, quickly surpassing the Clemson Football National Championship Bobblehead (just under 3,000). And, 63% of the orders have come from outside of Illinois, showing just how much the country has fell in love with Sister Jean.”
After serving in the Los Angeles area for more than twenty years and Principal of St. Brendan School in the late 50’s, Sister Jean relocated to the Chicago area in 1961 to work at Mundelein College—formerly an independent women’s college adjacent to Loyola—which later merged with Loyola University Chicago in 1991. Sister Jean still maintains a connection with the school, according to Principal Sister Maureen O’Connor, CSJ who told the Buzz that Sister Jean sent a congratulatory note on the 100th anniversary of the school three years ago.
Sister Jean has been the team chaplain for Loyola University’s men’s basketball team since 1996. Considered a long shot to win the tournament, the Ramblers have won their way to the final four with dramatic games decided in the final seconds. The team plays again this coming Saturday in San Antonio and they have a real shot at going all the way — in the words of their coach, “why not us?” — especially of they follow the wisdom of Sister Jean: “Worship. Work and Win!”
“We are so excited that people around the country are getting the opportunity to learn what all of us at Loyola have known for quite some time. And that is that Sr. Jean is an absolute treasure. She is an amazing person and part of the fabric of what makes Loyola such a wonderful place. Most people never have their own bobble head, but the fact that Sr. Jean is about to get her second shows just how special she is,” said Steve Watson, Athletic Director at Loyola University Chicago.
The bobbleheads, which feature Sister Jean in her Loyola jacket and scarf, are available for pre-order in the Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbleheads cost $25 each plus a flat rate shipping charge of $8 per order and are expected to arrive in June. Each bobblehead will be individually numbered and come in a collector’s box.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bobblehead benefit the Loyola Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The bobbleheads, which are being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, are officially licensed by Loyola University Chicago and are being produced in conjunction with the Loyola University Athletic Department. Apparently, this is the second bobblehead for Sister Jean, who had a bobblehead in her likeness given away at games in 2011 and 2015. Those bobbleheads are now hot commodities, selling for over $300 each on eBay, according to Mr. Sklar.