Sister Jean, Breakout March Madness Star, Celebrated By Her Fellow Nuns

By Maggie Hendricks

“OK, this is it, girls.”

With 41 seconds left in Loyola-Chicago’s Sweet 16 game with Nevada, Sister Mary Fran McLaughlin points out just how close the game is — just like Loyola’s two previous games in this unexpected NCAA Tournament run.

She and two other retired Sisters of the Charity of Blessed Virgin Mary are focused on the flat screen television in their apartment on the northwest side of Chicago, about nine miles from the campus that has become the center of the city’s attention — as much for a charismatic, feisty nun as the basketball team.

“There’s our girl!” said Sister Peggy Geraghty as the camera pans to a friend they’ve known for 50 years.

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, a fellow BVM and the chaplain for Loyola’s men’s basketball team, is greeting well-wishers at the game in Atlanta. Jean Dolores as they call her, has become the runaway star of the Ramblers’ run, which thanks to a 69-68 win over Nevada has extended to the Elite Eight, and Saturday to the Final Four after their victory over Kansas State.

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