Sister Jean Gets Another Loyola N.C.A.A. Run


As the arrangements took shape, Sister Jean was briefed on tournament safety protocols and other regulations designed to protect her during her time in Indianapolis.

She will remain at her hotel along with a nurse and security personnel provided by the university until it is time for her to make the six-mile trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse, where Loyola, a No. 8 seed, is scheduled to play ninth-seeded Georgia Tech at 4 p.m.

Before the trip was backed by Loyola, Sister Jean had private offers to transport her to Indianapolis from Chicago, including a plot by a local couple who joked that they would kidnap her in order to get her to the tournament.

For much of the regular season, fans have been heavily limited across college basketball. Some conferences loosened their rules during conference tournaments, and the N.C.A.A. announced ahead of the men’s tournament that it would allow arenas hosting the games, all in Indiana, to be 25 percent filled. Similar guidelines were announced for the women’s tournament, which is being held in Texas.

Sister Jean’s presence at Loyola games thus far this season has been limited to the cardboard cutout of her that was a fixture at the university’s Joseph J. Gentile Arena. Unlike in years past, when she huddled with players for pregame prayers as Loyola’s team hovered over her, Sister Jean’s pregame chats took place over phone calls.

Typically, about 30 minutes before tipoff, she receives a phone call from London Dokubo, Loyola’s director of basketball operations, who puts her on speaker phone to allow the players to hear a familiar voice.

“Hi, you Ramblers, are we ready?” Sister Jean begins.

“Yes, Sister Jean,” the players respond. “We’re ready.”


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