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PITTSBURGH – One of the great things about the recent success of Loyola men’s basketball was been the emergence of their beloved team chaplain.

Thanks to a pair of deep NCAA Tournaments, America and the world have gotten to know about Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who has been a prominent figure on the Rogers Park campus for decades. The chaplain would often be featured on national programs whenever the Ramblers made some noise in “March Madness,” and that chance has presented itself again in 2022.

Loyola’s win in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament helped the program punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. Fans of the Ramblers and college basketball, in general, are curious to see what the tenth seed will do after they made it to the Final Four in 2018 then the Sweet 16 in 2021.

Sister Jean will be right there when the Ramblers get things going in Pittsburgh on Friday as the tenth seed in the South Region. They’ll open with seventh-seed Ohio State at 11:15 AM, hoping to extend their streak of reaching at least the Sweet 16 during an NCAA Tournament appearance to four.

It’s been quite a rise for the 102-year old chaplain over the last five years, but she says it hasn’t changed her, and hopes it has helped those around her in the Loyola community.

“I’m still the same Sister Jean that I was before,” said the team chaplain. “All this popped up and this really didn’t start until we were on the road and we were becoming ‘Cinderella.’ The first morning I woke up in Dallas – the second morning I woke up in Dallas – I said ‘Whoa, this is not a dream, this is the real thing, get up! Go and get going. From then on I did.

“People said to me, ‘Is this going to your head?’ No, it’s not going to my head. I’ve just tried all the time to make people happy, to be happy in myself, and if I make people happy and it’s good for my congregation what I do, good for Loyola what I do, then I’ll do it.”

“I have a lot of fun doing what I do, and that’s part of what makes me happy.”

While she performs her duties as team chaplain, including leading the team in a pre-game prayer and providing her famous scouting reports, Sister Jean has also picked her bracket for the 2022 tournament.

“I have Loyola going to the Sweet 16 being part of the Sweet 16. Also over to, I would say, the Elite Eight,” said Sister Jean. “I would also say to the Elite Eight. But we’ll see how that happens.”

So will the rest of the country.