Dubuque connection, BVM Sister Jean leads Loyola to Sweet 16 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque connection, BVM Sister Jean leads Loyola to Sweet 16

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

When most people think of college basketball, what comes to mind typically is not a Catholic Sister.

This year's NCAA tournament is changing that.

The chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, (BVM) has become one of this year's many stars. 

Everyone on campus, and now in the world of college basketball knows her name. The 98-year-old nun has been praying on the sidelines for the Loyola Ramblers for nearly 25 years.

"It's not that she prays for them to win, she prays for them to have a good game and that no one will be injured...it's just the spirit of love and protection," said  Sister Margaret Mary Cosgrove, BVM.

There's lots of excitement surrounding the team's advancement to the NCAA Sweet 16, including in Dubuque at the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary campus.

"We BVMs have a saying, wherever one BVM is, we all are," said Sister Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM and Loyola trustee.

Originally from California, Sister Jean became a BVM in 1937 after high school. She then moved on to Chicago.

Her fellow Catholic Sisters admit, the team's success is not solely because of prayers. "I think she also says,  it's because of their training and skills. It's not prayer alone. It's work and hard work," said Sister Carolyn Farrell, BVM.

This is a dream, turned reality for Sister Jean.

"She didn't have them in the brackets beyond the Sweet 16, so the team is out to prove that Jean was wrong about her first bracketing," said Sister Mary Ann.

"But she also had a dream bracket -- her dream bracket had Loyola winning," added Sister Margaret Mary.

Loyola's next game is Thursday night. They will be facing Nevada. 

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