104-year-old ‘Sister Jean’ throws out first pitch at Chicago Cubs game

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt at the first round game of the NCAA Tournament in Dallas TX on Thursday March 15 2018 Credit Lukas Keapproth Loyola University Chicago CNA Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt at the first round game of the NCAA Tournament in Dallas on March 15, 2018. | Lukas Keapproth/Loyola University Chicago

Jean Dolores Schmidt, a Catholic religious sister known to many in the sports world simply as “Sister Jean,” threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Chicago Cubs baseball game on Monday night.

The occasion, already made special by the local sports legend’s presence, was made even more momentous by the fact that Schmidt was throwing the pitch just days after her 104th birthday.

A member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a sports chaplain for Loyola University of Chicago, Schmidt has long been a student favorite.

Known for her kind nature and enthusiastic love of basketball and all things sports, Schmidt earned legendary status when her beloved Loyola men’s basketball team, the Ramblers, advanced to the Final Four in 2018.

Beloved beyond Loyola University’s campus, the 104-year-old sister is something of a Chicago icon. 

Announcers for Tuesday’s Cubs game versus the Milwaukee Brewers remarked that “this is a moment” that “can provide plenty of inspiration if Sister Jean can come out here and get after it.” 

Though the Cubs went on to drop the game to the Brewers, the final scoreboard reading 6-2, Schmidt’s massive smile and energetic arm helped to cheer many Chicago fans’ hearts Monday night. 

Besides offering a cheerful smile and a kind word, Schmidt is also known for her practical wisdom and advice, her catchphrase being “worship, work, win.”

In February, with the help of sportswriter Seth Davis and publisher Harper Select, Schmidt published a memoir of her life titled “Wake Up with Purpose: What I’ve Learned in My First Hundred Years.” 

Sharing some of the lessons and wisdom she’s accumulated in her 100+ years of life, Schmidt’s memoir is “part life story, part philosophy text, and part spiritual guide,” according to Harper Select. 

Born in 1919, Schmidt said she first felt called by God to be a nun when she was inspired by her third grade teacher, a Sister of Charity.

Living through the Great Depression and World War II, Schmidt devoted her entire adult life to the ministry of teaching.

“I’ve seen so many changes in the last 103 years, but the important things remain the same,” Schmidt said before the release of her memoir. “I wanted to recount the story of my life for people, not because I feel that I am so special or my life has been so extraordinary, but rather as a way to give people hope and optimism that once they find their purpose, they can go through life with joy and fulfillment.”

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