Yes, Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt is everywhere.
The 98-year-old chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team is a media darling, capturing – national – and indeed, international – attention in the Ramblers’ improbably run to a coveted slot in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
Her image is on socks, T-shirts and now is the best-selling bobblehead in history. National stories have also focused on her community, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, and the accomplishments of their members as they cheer on and marvel at the media frenzy around their beloved sister.
Her grace, wit and wisdom are rightly spotlighted in the media, along with her basketball smarts.
The media affection for Sr. Jean is welcome, but there are some points that the Global Sisters Report would like to share.
Sisters across the globe do amazing work, most often out of the media spotlight.
At the same time that so much of the nation’s attention [has been] on college basketball, women religious at the U.N. were among the speakers at the annual Commission on the Status of Women which focused on the scourge of the trafficking of women and girls.
Get beyond “cute and stereotypical images. Some of the many media reports about Sr. Jean have taken the time to dig deeper into who she is and have portrayed her as more than a team cheerleader. She is an accomplished woman on many levels, having taught as a college professor for many years. Members of her [religious] community include a former mayor and several former college presidents.
Aging doesn’t have to be scary or negative. A key focus in the Sr. Jean story is her age: 98 and still active, witty and fully engaged. However, that is no surprise to the readers of the Global Sisters Report. We often write of women religious who remain involved in their ministries well into their 80s, 90s or past 100. Even “retired” sisters often are rarely retired in the common definition of that life state. Having a sense of purpose, a greater mission, is a big part of the reason.
We hope that the affection for Sr. Jean spills over into bolstering broad appreciation for Catholic women religious. Yet, long after the swish of the last basket of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, there will be religious women calming the fears of refugees torn from their country by war, drying the tears of a young woman recovering from a life of exploitation and helping disaster victims to start anew. Because that’s what sisters do.
To read the full account: http://globalsistersreport.org/blog/gsr-today/trends/flurry-over-sr-jean-dolores-schmidt-can-open-clearer-more-complete-look-women?utm_source=GSR%20digest%203-29-18&utm_campaign=cc&utm_medium=email
To read about the U.N. Conference on empowering rural women and girls: http://globalsistersreport.org/news/trends-trafficking/un-womens-commission-agrees-measures-empower-rural-women-and-girls-52856?utm_source=GSR%20digest%203-29-18&utm_campaign=cc&utm_medium=email