For many years she fulfilled her calling to ministry and mission as a teacher, and then an administrator in the Roman Catholic educational system. At the age of 74, when most of her peers were thinking about retirement, she took on a new challenge as the chaplain for a college men’s basketball team. She was not totally unprepared for her new position, having played high school basketball in the 1930’s.
After 24 years as chaplain she was thrust into the national spotlight when her team made it to the final four in men’s basketball. For a three-week period, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt and her team became a household name. Before each game she would have a prayer, and offer to each player her own personal scouting report. When Loyola-Chicago lost to Michigan in the semifinal game, she was there to offer a word of comfort and consolation.
In the catalogue for his first international retrospective exhibition at the Modern Museel in Stockholm, Sweden, is found the following quote by Andy Warhol, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” His remark has come to describe all those persons who experience short-lived media fame. Sister Jean is yet another example of a person who had their 15 minutes of fame.
The scriptures are filled with examples of persons who had their 15 minutes of fame. We meet two of them in Jesus’ birth narratives in Luke. The first is Simeon. Joseph and Mary have brought Jesus to the temple for the rite of purification. His whole life Simeon had been looking for the consolation of Israel. When Jesus’ parents draw near, he takes the infant Jesus in his arms and announces He is the one for whom he has been waiting.
The second person we meet when Jesus’ parents visit the temple is Anna. “She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:37, 38)
For many years, Sister Jean, Simeon and Anna remained faithful to their commitment to God. In season and out, they had remained constant in their devotion and passion. For a brief moment, the light of history shown upon them and our lives were enriched when we heard their stories. Their brief 15 minutes of fame is an inspiration to all of us.
It seems like every day there is another story of a person who is having their 15 minutes of fame. Very often they are inspirational and make us feel good. The people come from all walks of life and have a variety of life experiences. Their 15 minutes of fame shines light on a life lived on a high plane. They could be the person next door. In fact one never knows that perhaps one day in the future, the media will be telling your story of your 15 minutes of fame.
THE REV. DAVE HOGSETT is a retired United Methodist pastor. He can be e-mailed at davidh15503 @embarqmail.com.