BVM “Sister Jean” Dolores Schmidt’s memoir, Wake Up With Purpose! What I’ve Learned in My First Hundred Years was released by Harper Select on Feb. 28, 2023, proceeding the “March Madness” NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Known to millions as simply “Sister Jean,” the Loyola Chicago matriarch and college basketball icon, recently celebrated her 103rd birthday this past August. She, along with her collaborator Seth Davis—an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and New York Times bestselling author— worked together to capture the narrative and life lessons she has gleaned from her fascinating century-long life. “When Seth Davis asked if I would be interested in writing a book together, I was skeptical that I could find the time. I still go into my office at Loyola five days a week and keep a very busy schedule year-round,” said Sister Jean. “I’m glad I agreed to give it a try, because I enjoyed so much revisiting all these memories that I hadn’t thought about in so many years.
From teaching at a Catholic school during the Second World War to serving on a Chicago college campus in the sixties and beyond, Sister Jean was already living a treasured life before she became a national treasure while cheering from the sidelines for her beloved Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team at the NCAA tournament in March 2018. “As I write in the book, it took me 98 years to become an overnight sensation, and I have a lot more living to do. I hope people will enjoy taking this very, very long stroll down memory lane with me.”
Wake Up with Purpose! has broad appeal and application that transcends religious creed, belief, and even feelings on Loyola’s basketball team. “I’m happy with how this book came out, but I know that words could never do justice to explain just how much of a national treasure she is. She is truly a gift from God. Sister Jean is just as happy, hopeful, funny, and cool as she seems. She has a loving heart, a giving soul, and a superhuman memory. I tried to capture not just her words but her spirit, so that every reader will get to feel what I felt during all those hours of conversations. Writing this book with her has been one of the great honors of my life,” said Seth Davis.
“I’ve seen so many changes in the last 103 years, but the important things remain the same. I wanted to recount the story of my life for people, not because I feel that I am so special or my life has been so extraordinary, but rather as a way to give people hope and optimism that once they find their purpose, they can go through life with joy and fulfillment,” added Sister Jean.
Wake Up with Purpose! is available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook at: https://www.harpercollinsfocus.com/harper-horizon/wake-up-with-purpose/