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Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the 101-year-old chaplain of Chicago’s Loyola Ramblers, didn’t ask for a blessing in her pregame prayer. She mapped out the game plan, and those prayers were answered.
The inspirational pregame prayer was delivered right before the Ramblers upset number 1 seed Illinois 71-58 during Sunday’s second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“As we play the fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win. We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous,” Jean said during the prayer. “We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50 percent of layups and 30 percent of its 3 points. Our defense can take care of that…”
Sister Jean first became a viral sensation back in 2018 during March Madness. After a string of upset victories, the number 11 seed reached the Final Four and Sister Jean became a national sensation.
She was initially unable to attend any Ramblers games due to the ongoing pandemic. At this time, she delivered pregame prayers for the team virtually from her senior independent living apartment in downtown Chicago.
“What they wanted to do was be sure that all the safety factors were taken into consideration,” Sister Jean shared during a video conference according to multiple reports. “If I’m not supposed to go on the court, I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to cause any disturbance.”
Thankfully, Sister Jean was able to watch the game in-person, right from the stands. She received the COVID-19 vaccination and clearance to travel to Indianapolis to see if she could provide the team inspiration.
In a video that the NCAA shared, Sister Jean can be seen wearing a mask while showing love for the Ramblers as they expanded their lead over Illinois during the first quarter.
During the first round, Loyola beat Georgia Tech 71-60 during the first round of the NCASS Tournament on Friday. The team’s next game is on March 27 for the Sweet 16 round.
Sister Jean filled out her personal March Madness bracket and has Loyola-Chicago advancing to the Elite Eight. She has placed top-ranked Gonzaga to win it all.
She has served as the Ramblers chaplain since 1994 and joined the staff at Loyola-Chicago three years prior.