Campus Life

Sister Jean’s memoir selected as Rambler Read for second consecutive year

May 15, 2024

An older woman wearing a Loyola University Chicago scarf signs a book

Wake Up With Purpose!: What I’ve Learned in My First Hundred Years has been chosen as the Rambler Read for the second consecutive year. Penned by Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM, in collaboration with Seth Davis, this memoir offers readers a profound insight into Sister Jean’s century-long journey and the invaluable lessons she has accumulated along the way. 

The book captures Sister Jean’s wisdom, spirit, and sharp sense of humor. More than just a chronicle of her life, it delves into universal themes that resonate with readers from all walks of life.

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.

— Sister Jean , remarking on the release of her memoir in 2023

Sister Jean is a religious sister of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has spent her entire adult life as a teacher and administrator at elementary schools in both Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as at Mundelein College and Loyola University Chicago. Since 1994, she has served as the beloved team chaplain for the Loyola Men’s Basketball team. 

The Rambler Read, an initiative aimed at providing a shared intellectual experience for first-year students, will feature Wake Up With Purpose! as its focal point for the upcoming academic year. Coordinated by New Student Programs in collaboration with the Rambler Read Committee, the program invites members of the campus community to initiate and/or engage in activities that enhance the experience of first-year students around the text’s themes. 

Plans for the 2024-25 academic year include: 

  • Distribute the text to students during new student orientation in June and July 
  • Collaborate with the University Writing Program surrounding an Essay Contest for first-year students 
  • Partner with Community Service & Action in connecting a direct service opportunity with the community to the Rambler Read  
  • Programming during November in recognition of Ignatian Heritage Month 

In addition to the programming plans above, all Ramblers are encouraged to participate in conversation around the themes of Wake Up With Purpose!

  • Faculty members: Please consider adopting the text in your classes this academic year to engage students around the themes espoused in the book 
  • Staff members: Please consider how you might engage students with the text as part of a campus program or initiative either in or outside the classroom  

To facilitate ongoing engagement, New Student Programs encourages participants to follow them on Instagram at @luc_fye and utilize #RamblerRead on social media platforms. Questions and ideas can be directed to Joel Maidens, Associate Director for New Student Programs, at 

With the selection of Wake Up With Purpose! for the Rambler Read, the 2024-25 academic year promises to be one filled with meaningful conversations and shared experiences. 

2024-25 Rambler Read Committee: 

  • Megan Barry, Community Service & Action, Mission Integration 
  • Dana Garbarski, Department of Sociology/University Core Curriculum 
  • Patrick Green, Center for Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship 
  • Annie Keller, New Student Programs 
  • Joel Maidens, New Student Programs 
  • Amber Miller, Office of the Dean of Students 
  • Marianne Ryan, University Libraries 
  • Sherrie Weller, Department of English/Writing Program