A Century of Sister Jean

100 years of faith, education, and basketball

August 21, 1919

Born Dolores Bertha Schmidt, the first of three children of Joseph and Bertha Schmidt, in San Francisco

Market Street, San Francisco. Courtesy of Getty Images.

September 1937

Leaves her home in San Francisco for a two-day, three-night train trip to Dubuque, Iowa, to begin a six-month period as a postulant, or candidate, with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM)

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

March 19, 1938

Officially received into the BVMs, taking on the order’s traditional habit and her new religious name: Sister Jean Dolores

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

August 15, 1945

Professes her final vows as a BVM in Dubuque and is assigned soon after to teach at St. Charles Elementary School in North Hollywood, California. She starts a sports program, coaching women’s basketball, softball, volleyball, track, ping-pong, and yo-yo

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

Summer 1961

Arrives on the campus of Mundelein College in Chicago after completing her master’s degree at Loyola University, Los Angeles, and begins teaching college courses for the first time (second from right)

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1970 

Named acting dean of Mundelein College for the next two years, in addition to already serving as associate dean and director of summer sessions

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1974

Serves as director of Coffey Hall for the next four years, adding another role to her growing list of titles

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1984

Ends tenure as associate dean and director of academic services, and becomes associate vice president for academic affairs

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1991

Joins Loyola University Chicago as assistant dean and an academic advisor, after Mundelein College becomes affiliated with Loyola

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1994

Begins a new role with the men’s and women’s basketball teams by helping the players keep their grades high enough to remain eligible to play, calling herself the “Booster Shooter”

1996

Transitions from her role as an academic advisor to official team chaplain for the men’s basketball team

2009

Launches SMILE (Students Moving Into the Lives of the Elderly), pairing Loyola students with residents at the Clare, a retirement home next door to the Water Tower Campus

February 10, 2011

Has her likeness immortalized in plastic for the Loyola Ramblers’ first Sister Jean bobblehead night, during which the first 900 fans at Gentile Arena receive a small statue of the team chaplain

August 21, 2014

Celebrates her 95th birthday with a surprise party and the announcement of “Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM Day” at Loyola

May 13, 2016

Presented a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree by Loyola in recognition of her decades of commitment and service to the University

January 21, 2017

Inducted into the Ramblers’ Athletics Hall of Fame in Gentile Arena during halftime at a men’s basketball game

March 2018

Becomes an international celebrity due to her constant presence on the sidelines during Loyola’s historic NCAA Tournament run that culminated in an unlikely spot in the Final Four

September 12, 2018

Receives the Sword of Loyola, the University’s highest honor, at the 2018 Founders’ Dinner

August 21, 2019

Celebrates her 100th birthday with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the Loyola community.

For her 100th birthday, Loyola University Chicago is recognizing a lifetime devoted to serving others. Learn more about Sister Jean’s life and impact.

Read more
A century of Sister Jean

100 years of faith, education, and basketball

August 21, 1919

Born Dolores Bertha Schmidt, the first of three children of Joseph and Bertha Schmidt

Market Street, San Francisco. Courtesy of Getty Images.

September 1937

Leaves her home in San Francisco for a two-day, three-night train trip to Dubuque, Iowa, to begin a six-month period as a postulant, or candidate, with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM)

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

March 19, 1938

Officially received into the BVMs, taking on the order’s traditional habit and her new religious name: Sister Jean Dolores

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

August 15, 1945

Professes her final vows as a BVM in Dubuque and is assigned soon after to teach at St. Charles Elementary School in North Hollywood, California. She starts a sports program, coaching women’s basketball, softball, volleyball, track, ping-pong, and yo-yo

Used with permission of Mount Carmel Archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa.

Summer 1961

Arrives on the campus of Mundelein College in Chicago after completing her master’s degree at Loyola University, Los Angeles, and begins teaching college courses for the first time

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1970 

Named acting dean of Mundelein College for the next two years, in addition to already serving as associate dean and director of summer sessions

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1974

Serves as director of Coffey Hall for the next four years, adding another role to her growing list of titles

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1984

Ends tenure as associate dean and director of academic services, and becomes associate vice president for academic affairs

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1991

Joins Loyola University Chicago as assistant dean and an academic advisor, after Mundelein College becomes affiliated with Loyola

Courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

1994

Begins a new role with the men’s and women’s basketball teams by helping the players keep their grades high enough to remain eligible to play, calling herself the “Booster Shooter”

1996

Transitions from her role as an academic advisor to official team chaplain for the men’s basketball team

2009

Launches SMILE (Students Moving Into the Lives of the Elderly), pairing Loyola students with residents at the Clare, a retirement home next door to the Water Tower Campus

February 10, 2011

Has her likeness immortalized in plastic for the Loyola Ramblers’ first Sister Jean bobblehead night, during which the first 900 fans at Gentile Arena receive a small statue of the team chaplain

August 21, 2014

Celebrates her 95th birthday with a surprise party and the announcement of “Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM Day” at Loyola

May 13, 2016

Presented a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree by Loyola in recognition of her decades of commitment and service to the University

January 21, 2017

Inducted into the Ramblers’ Athletics Hall of Fame in Gentile Arena during halftime at a men’s basketball game

March 2018

Becomes an international celebrity due to her constant presence on the sidelines during Loyola’s historic NCAA Tournament run that culminated in an unlikely spot in the Final Four

September 12, 2018

Receives the Sword of Loyola, the University’s highest honor, at the 2018 Founders’ Dinner

August 21, 2019

Celebrates her 100th birthday with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the Loyola community

For her 100th birthday, Loyola University Chicago is recognizing a lifetime devoted to serving others. Learn more about Sister Jean’s life and impact.

Read more