Sister Jean’s bobblehead is back in stock — and better than ever.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum partnered with Loyola Athletics to release the third version of men’s basketball chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, BVM’s bobblehead.
The 101-year-old was back in the spotlight for the Loyola men’s basketball team’s NCAA Tournament run this year — the squad’s second appearance in four years — which came to an end in the Sweet 16 March 27 with a loss against Oregon State University.
The bobblehead, which shows Sister Jean sitting in a wheelchair wearing Loyola apparel, costs $25 with an $8 shipping charge. Some of the revenue from sales will be allocated to Loyola’s Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary — the Catholic order Sister Jean belongs to.
The new bobblehead, inspired by how she looks today in pictures and television appearances, is different from the ones released in the past because it features her good luck charm bracelet and Final Four rings, among other things, according to Phil Sklar, CEO and co-founder of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
Sister Jean has been the chaplain for Loyola’s men’s basketball team since 1994. Before becoming a chaplain, she helped student-athletes maintain their grades at the university. She started her career at Loyola in 1991 as a guide to transfer students after Mundelein College merged with the university.
Sister Jean rose to fame in March 2018 when reporters captured her performing her duties as chaplain during the NCAA tournament where the Ramblers eventually reached the Final Four.
Sklar said the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum began planning the third version of Sister Jean’s bobblehead with Loyola Athletics after the team won the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament this year.
“It really makes me laugh to think I have three,” Sister Jean said in a press conference March 25.
Sister Jean’s first bobblehead, which was produced by the university, was distributed to fans at Loyola’s basketball games in the mid-2000s, according to Sklar.
When Sister Jean was informed of plans to create the first version of her bobblehead, she said she thought her staff was joking.
“When they were talking about the first one, one of our staff said to me, ‘Sister Jean, what would you think about a bobblehead?’ and I said, ‘If it’s good for Loyola, that’s fine,’” Sister Jean said.
Sklar said the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum produced and released her second bobblehead in 2018 after they saw her original bobblehead selling on eBay for more than $100.
Within two days of its release, Sklar said the bobblehead became the Hall of Fame and Museum’s most popular bobblehead until the sales of U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Bernie Sanders’ bobbleheads exceeded hers in April 2020 and January 2021, respectively.
“Who would want to be in better company than Dr. Fauci, who’s done so much for the world in this whole pandemic,” Sister Jean said.
Sklar said the 2018 version of the bobblehead sold out a couple weeks ago after a department at Loyola bought most of the remaining stock.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum stores and sells a collection of bobbleheads of popular figures and displays an exhibit of the history of bobbleheads among other things, according to its website.
People all over the country admire Sister Jean, Sklar said.
“You don’t have to be a Loyola fan to love her,” Sklar said. “There are so many people that have fallen in love with Sister Jean. She makes cheering for Loyola so fun.”