SAN ANTONIO — The last time Loyola won the NCAA title was in 1963, when Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt was 43 years old. Much has changed since then but what remains is that she will continue to pray for the Ramblers and their opponents.
“I like to pray for both teams… at the end of the prayer, I always ask God to be sure that the scoreboard indicates that the Ramblers have the big ‘W.’”
The amazing run has come to an end for the Ramblers, however, with Michigan advancing to the title match against Villanova.
Sister Jean, 98, in the chaplain for the Ramblers of Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit Catholic university. She attends practices, leads the team prayer before games, and even provides players individual scouting reports on their opponents. She emails players after games, offering constructive critiques and encouraging them when they do well.
“She’s meant a lot to this program, to the city of Chicago,” said senior guard Donte Ingram.
“Obviously with the prayers that everybody sees she’s been doing for us, she’s around and her aura is so bright…. To have her support, it’s great. And she’s like no other. We’re happy to have her on our side.”
She has become the darling of the Final Four and even had her own presser, a standing-room only event, while Loyola coach Porter Moser and members of the team took the dais in other conference rooms.
Her face has appeared on T-shirts and socks and soon there will be a Sister Jean bobblehead.
Sister Jean’s presence has even affected opponents, according to Michigan head coach John Beilein.
“I have heard from many religious (people) that I personally know that tell me their prayers are doing everything they can to counter Sister Jean…. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s great.”