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Sister Jean celebrates 99th birthday; shares 3 pieces of life advice

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt Loyola Ramberls chaplain gives fans and players the thumbs up as they gather their luggage after the heart breaking loss to Michigan in the NCAA Final Four, Sunday, April 1, 2018, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

After Loyola’s heartbreaking Final Four loss to Michigan this spring, Ramblers guard Marques Townes was disappointed.

That was until he found an unread email in his inbox from the team’s chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who is celebrating her 99th birthday on Tuesday.

“Marques: You were great this season, and I know you’ll be even better in 2018-19,” Townes recalled on Monday, stating what the email said.

The email wasn’t unusual as Sister Jean sent them after every single game. But this email was a reminder to Townes about how lucky the men’s basketball team and Loyola are to have a person like Sister Jean rolling around campus.

“She found away to keep our spirits high and keep us smiling,” Townes.

Although she grew to a level of “international” stardom during Loyola’s historic Final Four run, the basketball-loving nun was touching lives at the university for the nearly last three decades.

“I feel my impact is sort of lost on me sometimes because I’m just myself,” Sister Jean said recently.

Loyola will host a celebration for Sister Jean in the Damen Student Center at 10 a.m.

“She deserves it, she’s just such a beautiful person,” Townes said. “I hope she has a big cake.”

Asked to describe Sister Jean in five words, Townes gave six.

“Genuine, sincere, passionate, loving, caring, sweetheart,” Townes said.

“[She’s taught me] to have great spirit all the time,” Townes said. “Even when you think something is not going your way … At the the end of the day, you only live once and you never want to be too down. If you have great spirits, that can take you a long way.”

Sister Jean lives life by example, and she recently shared a few key pieces of advice.

1. Follow your dreams

“I tell … young men and women, if you have a dream, don’t let anyone scrunch it,” Sister Jean said. “Because if you don’t follow that dream, you’ll never be happy in your life. You have to follow it. Everybody has to follow a dream, even though it’s a small one, it has to be a dream.

“Nothing’s too hard if you put your heart and soul into it.”

2. Be yourself

“Be yourself, accept the challenges that are given to you and you do that,” Sister Jean said.

3. Don’t get frustrated

“You don’t have time to pout, you don’t have time to be angry,” Sister Jean said. “And sometimes when I get angry, I say, ‘What’s the use of being angry?'”

What could Sister Jean possibly get angry about?

“When people don’t do well and they can do better,” she said. “Sometimes I tell young men and women that: ‘You’re not using the talents God has given you. He’s given you lots of gifts. Just open that Pandora’s box and use them.'”