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A half century of leadership

Sister Jean guides Ramblers on and off the court

Jean Dolores Schmidt, or "Sister Jean" as she is affectionately known on the campuses of Loyola University Chicago, has been a sister in the religious order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) for 81 years and a beloved member of the greater Loyola community for over half a century.

Since becoming chaplain of the men's basketball team in 1994, Sister Jean has shown her dedication to Loyola's student-athletes above and beyond just their spiritual health. She believes athletics affords valuable lessons for young people about how to deal with adversity in life. At Rambler home games, she can be seen working the crowd, encouraging school spirit and friendly competition, and leading the players in prayer before each game. As chaplain of the Water Tower Campus, she takes time to get to know students waiting in line for the intercampus shuttle bus, simply to bring happiness and joy into their lives.

After joining the BVMs in 1937, Sister Jean earned several degrees at schools in Los Angeles. Before arriving at Mundelein College—formerly an independent women's college adjacent to Loyola—in 1961, she served as a principal, coach, and teacher at several schools in both California and Illinois. At Mundelein College, she held several leadership positions. After the college merged with Loyola University Chicago in 1991, she became an academic advisor for Loyola's School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

"I ask God to be especially good to Loyola so that, at the end of the game, the scoreboard indicates a big 'W' for us. These kids play with their hearts and their heads because they love their school and because they love basketball."
— Sister Jean, BVM

Living with the students in residence halls off and on since 1978 has allowed Sister Jean to influence the lives of students in ways beyond the classroom or the court. One way is by leading prayer groups in residence-hall communities. She also incorporates St. Ignatius's Daily Examen in her mentoring, encouraging students to reflect on all that they have done during the day, especially the good things.

Sister Jean retired from full-time work in 1994. In 2009, she was honored with the Dux Mirabilis Award, an honor given to an extraordinary leader in the Loyola community for outstanding contributions to the University and its mission. In 2016, Loyola conferred upon Sister Jean an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. And on September 12, 2018, at Founders' Dinner, Sister Jean will receive Loyola's highest award, the Sword of Loyola. She is a truly beloved figure at Loyola who has inspired thousands of students with her unfailing energy, faith, and warmth.

Sister Jean Shout-Outs

The most tweeted about person of the NCAA Tournament the weekend of March 23-25

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For her to be doing what she's doing at her age, it's amazing, and it's inspiring. I think her prayers definitely mean a little bit extra when she prays for us.”
—Clayton Custer, redshirt junior, ’19

Sister Jean in the News

Updated 03/28/18

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