SALEM (CBS) – She’s been the star of the NCAA tournament. Loyola Chicago’s team Chaplain Sister Jean Schmidt and her school’s blessed run through the big dance.
Sister Jean says, “I can’t believe it. Even in the morning when I wake up I say is this real or is this a dream and I say no it’s really real.”
Every year March Madness has a Cinderella. This year the face of the underdog is Sister Jean Schmidt and her Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.
Sister Jean has brought encouragement, an infectious smile and one-liners that trend on social media almost as soon as she says it. Like one where a reporter asks what she gave up for Lent. Sister Jean responded “Losing.”
Cristina Nuncio isn’t surprised by her long-time friend’s instant fame. In fact, she’s getting a kick out of it.
Nuncio recalls an interview she watched with Sister Jean. “And then somebody said ‘what does it feel like to be a national celebrity’ and she said, ‘I’m going to correct you, it’s international celebrity,'” Nuncio said.
And Nuncio knows what it’s like to be corrected by Sister Jean.
“There was one time, I forget, but I was going on about something and she goes ‘no honey I don’t think you have that right,’” Nuncio said. “OK I guess I don’t.”
The nun is such an important part of Loyola-Chicago athletics; she even has her own bobblehead. Nuncio got hers nearly a decade ago, well before the Ramblers magical run.
Sister Jean said earlier Friday, “I think the company can retire when they are done with my bobblehead.”
Nuncio says she emailed Sister Jean a couple of times recently but doesn’t expect to get an immediate response because she gets over 500 emails per day.
Earlier Friday, Sister Jean was asked if she believes God is a basketball fan. She responded by saying he probably is and he probably prefers college basketball over the NBA.