Sister Jean's Pregame Prayer Inspires Loyola Chicago's Historic Upset Win Over Top-Seeded Illinois
Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt proved that prayer works!
The 101-year-old chaplain of Chicago's Loyola Ramblers delivered an inspirational pregame prayer to the eighth-seeded team before they upset No. 1 seed Illinois 71-58 during Sunday's second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"As we play the fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win. We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous," Jean said during the prayer. "We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its 3 points. Our defense can take care of that…"
Sister Jean watched the game in-person from the stands. In a video shared by the NCAA, she can be seen wearing a mask while cheering on the Ramblers as they extended their lead over Illinois during the first quarter.
Loyola beat Georgia Tech 71-60 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The team's next game is on March 27 for the Sweet 16 round.
Sister Jean, who first became an internet sensation back in 2018 during March Madness, was unable to attend Ramblers games all season due to the ongoing pandemic. Instead, she delivered pregame prayers for the team virtually from her senior independent living apartment in downtown Chicago.
But after weeks of lobbying hard to be in attendance at the NCAA Tournament, the avid basketball lover was granted approval last week.
Sister Jean — who has already received both of her COVID-19 vaccine shots — will not have any direct in-person contact at the games and will be provided with a nurse, security, and meal service at the team's hotel, ESPN previously reported.
"What they wanted to do was be sure that all the safety factors were taken into consideration," Sister Jean said during a video conference last Tuesday, according to reports. "If I'm not supposed to go on the court, I'm not going to go. And I'm not going to cause any disturbance."
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Sister Jean has already filled out her personal March Madness bracket and, of course, has Loyola-Chicago advancing to the Elite Eight. She said she ultimately decided on top-ranked Gonzaga to win it all, though.
Sister Jean has served as the Ramblers chaplain since 1994. She joined the staff at Loyola-Chicago three years prior.
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