Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, chaplain of the Loyola men’s basketball team, traveled to St. Louis Nov. 17 to retrieve another award — the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character — for her collection.
The Musial Awards, an annual awards’ ceremony hosted by Maryville University, seeks to recognize those who show good sportsmanship in the U.S., according to the event’s website. The awards are presented in honor of Stan Musial, a St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer, who passed away in 2013 and is remembered for being a good sport.
Sister Jean, 99, has been well known around Loyola’s campus for a long time but became internationally famous after the men’s basketball team reached the NCAA Final Four in March. The sportsmanship she showed during last year’s tournament is the reason she won the Musial Award, given by the by the St. Louis Sports Commission, according to the event’s website.
After accepting her award, Sister Jean gave a speech during which she promised to continue to live up to the award and inspire selflessness and civility in sports and in society, according to Erin Cizek, a spokesperson for the event.
Sister Jean said in her speech she was grateful for everyone who supported her, from her congregation, the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), to her family, according to Cizek.
“Such an award is not earned by one person alone,” Sister Jean said in her speech, according to Cizek. “In my case, my support is my own family, my BVM congregation, my Jesuit community, my Loyola community and our students, and I express my gratitude to my whole team and any team I’ve had at Loyola.”
Sister Jean told The Phoenix she was especially happy because some of her BVM sisters attended the event with her. Sister Eileen Fuchs, one of the BVM sisters who attended the event, said she wanted Sister Jean to know the community supported her.
“I wanted her to know that even though a lot of us are far away, we’re with her and we’re behind her and we’re so proud of her,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs said she enjoyed wearing a Ramblers scarf at the event because it was another way to support Sister Jean.
“We all have a scarf now and we were so excited. As soon as we put that scarf on we were immediately identified with Sister Jean,” Fuchs said.
Eight other people were recognized, such as Jim Thome, Peoria native and former Cleveland Indian, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship, according to the event’s website.
Sister Jean told The Phoenix all of the other award winners were inspiring in different ways, and everyone in the audience was impressed by each winner’s accomplishments.
“It was thrilling to me to see all those people sitting there, touched by everyone’s accomplishments,” Sister Jean said. “Everyone was happy.”
Other award winners were amateur athletes who showed good sportsmanship, for example, Kaiden Whaley, a 10-year-old hockey player from Washington, D.C. who was recognized for sharing pointers with an inexperienced goalie on the opposing team during halftime, according to the event’s website.
Sister Jean has won multiple awards this year, including the Sword of Loyola, which is the highest honor someone can receive from the university, according toThe Phoenix.