CHICAGO — Leave it to 100-year-old Loyola Chicago team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt to deliver a pep talk.

Sister Jean delivered a video message that was a prayer and call to action about confronting the coronavirus during what she called “the strangest March Madness I have ever experienced.”

Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago basketball team, attends a rally during the team’s surprising run to the Final Four in 2018. Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

“What we’ve been asked to do by government officials, church officials, presidents, superintendents, directors and others in authority is not an easy thing to do but we must do it,” she said in a video posted on YouTube and Loyola’s website. “We must not only do it, but we have to do it as a team in order to aid our global arena to find out all about this deadly virus.”

Sister Jean, the team’s chaplain since 1994, became a nationally recognized sports celebrity during Loyola’s 2018 Cinderella run to the Final Four. Before Loyola games, she prays with players and with the fans at Gentile Arena.

She sends encouraging emails to players after every game.

Now she is spreading an encouraging message to Loyola fans during this global pandemic.

“This pandemic we are experiencing is a unique situation in our lives,” Sister Jean said. “It is our responsibility to cooperate with those who have data to prove their requests. To reach our goals successfully, we need to be that team that I mentioned.”

Like most sports fans, she’s looking forward to an eventual return to sports.

“God willing we will be on the dance floor again (for the) 2020-2021 season,” she said.

She ended her message with hope.

“As the days go by, let us continue our team spirit,” she said. “Let us bring happiness and joy to others. Let us ask our God to continue to protect us with our great love. God bless us, stay healthy, be safe, go Ramblers.”

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