Sister Jean’s prayers were answered on Tuesday.
Jean Dolores Schmidt, better known as Sister Jean, was cleared to travel to Indiana to root on Loyola-Chicago as the Ramblers look to recreate some of the magic they made in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The team’s 101-year-old chaplain was originally unsure whether she would be allowed to be in the team’s travel party given the NCAA’s coronavirus restrictions. But she told reporters that she received the clearance just three days before the No. 8-seeded Ramblers play Georgia Tech at Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Sometimes they believe it might be like a teenage concert, that everybody is going to surround me and I won’t have any breathing space,” Sister Jean said. “But the people who go to these games are interested in the games and they’re very professional people.
“They’re parents, they’re students, and the students have a great time. … To my thinking, there is no danger, but I’m willing to do what they want to do.”
Sister Jean, who now has both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, has not been to a game all-season long but has been watching the Ramblers closely and even calling in before games to lead the team in prayer. According to the Tribune, she will have a nurse and security with her while in Indiana and will have meals at her hotel.
Loyola-Chicago could face No. 1 seed Illinois should both teams win and advance to the Round of 32. But first, the team will have to get through the ACC champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
“I always tell them size doesn’t make any difference,” she said. “Sometimes if you’re too big, then you might be a little clumsy. So we hope they’ll be a little clumsy, but I don’t know they will be.”
The Ramblers made it all the way to the Final Four in 2018 and with Sister Jean in attendance again, maybe history for Loyola-Chicago will repeat itself.