Fans are praying for Loyola’s 98-year-old Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.
Their prayer? For Ellen Degeneres to bring Sister Jean on “The Ellen Show.”
“Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt's prayers have gotten Loyola University Chicago to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 33 years,” reads the petition started by Loyola Sophomore Tanea Crawford. “Sign if you want to see her on Ellen!”
The petition has a goal of 2,500 signatures. As of early Monday afternoon, it sat at nearly 2,000 and was getting a steady flow of supporters.
Jean, the team’s chaplain, prays with the team before every game and provides scouting reports. She traveled to both Ramblers games in the tournament so far; in both, the No. 11-seeded team pulled off spectacular upsets against the No. 6-seeded Miami Hurricanes and No. 3-seeded Tennessee Volunteers.
"I tihnk Sister Jean talked to God on that last shot," Clayton Custer said after sinking a last-second winning shot in the team's latest victory.
The endearing nun has worked at Loyola for 53 years, according to the Loyola Phoenix. She has received national media attention during the tournament, calling it her "international spotlight."
“I just want friends for Loyola and I know that by talking about me they have to think about Loyola," she told NBC 5.
And her relationship with the team, and the players, is undeniable.
“They’re really such nice kids and when they come off the court and hug me, those sweaty hugs are very welcome,” she said.
As for Loyola's next game against Nevada Thursday, Jean said she's working on a few things first.
“I promise God a lot of things too, so I have to fulfill them before the next game," she said.