Sr. Maura Lowrey

Sr. Maura Lowrey, RSM, has been a staple at Mother McAuley High School athletic events since she arrived at the school in 1998. She attends as many Mighty Macs home events as possible, including volleyball, basketball, softball and water polo. Sr. Maura is 91 and has been a member of the Sisters of Mercy for 75 years. (Review photo)

As the final chapter closed on Loyola University-Chicago’s exciting run to the NCAA Final Four, its talented athletes and coaches will always be remembered for the nun who played a major role in their Cinderella story.

Sr. Jean Delores Schmidt (BVM), 98, the team’s longtime chaplain, never sought the media spotlight as the Ramblers garnered international attention, but her dedication and impact on their success can not be overstated.

The same can be said for Mother McAuley High School’s own version of Sr. Jean.

Since 1998, Sr. Maura Lowrey (RSM) has been in the crowd cheering on the Mighty Macs in volleyball, basketball, water polo and softball—not to mention at pep rallies and assemblies.

She loves watching McAuley athletes compete and excel.

“The girls keep me young,” Sr. Maura said. “When people ask my age, I kind of facetiously say, like a little kid, ‘I’m 91 and a half.’ It does something for me being here at games, at pep rallies, at assemblies.”

Sr. Maura grew up in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side. She attended Siena High School where she first came into contact with the Sisters of Mercy.

She has now been with the religious order for 75 years.

When Dr. Christine Melone, McAuley’s principal at the time, asked nuns on staff at the school to increase their involvement with student activities, Sr. Maura immediately decided on sports, and she hasn’t looked back.

For McAuley athletes like senior basketball player Kelly Gallagher, Sr. Maura is always there for her home team.

“We love seeing her in the stands with all our fans. She’s our own Super Fan,” Gallagher said. “Her big smile is always inspiring, and she’s always got positive energy with her high-fives. She loves sports, and it’s great to have her as part of the community like that.”

Sr. Maura said she loves all sports, but she especially likes watching volleyball and basketball. During the volleyball season, the team always sings Happy Birthday to her in celebration of her birthday on Sept. 23.

Due to unseasonably chilly spring weather, Sr. Maura said she’s waiting until the weather warms before heading out for a softball game.

During the basketball team’s historic postseason run this winter, she enjoyed all the ups and downs. The Mighty Macs advanced all the way to the Class 4A supersectional after winning the team’s first sectional since 2003.

“It was exciting. I was biting my nails,” Sr. Maura said with a laugh. “If we ever got behind, it was praying time. Up until then, I’m yelling ‘Go Macs!’ And if they need a prayer or two, then I start to pray a little.”

Sr. Maura’s efforts aren’t limited to prayers. Just like Sr. Jean, she knows the game and will offer advice if she notices something that needs improvement.

“Sr. Maura is the best. She’s very into the games,” said senior volleyball player Nora Burke (St. Cajetan). “She always yells if we’re missing serves because we can control them. It’s funny to hear. She’s there every game in her chair. It’s heartwarming to know someone is praying for us and hoping we succeed.”

These days, Sr. Maura has limited her attendance to home games, but for really big games, like the volleyball team’s state title in 2016 and the basketball team’s run this winter, she keeps track of the action in any way possible, whether it be online or someone keeping her updated.

“I’m there with them,” Sr. Maura said, “whether I’m there physically or not.”

Her contributions are not limited to games. She is a welcome guest at the postseason athletic banquets. Sr. Maura also is an avid fan of crocheting, making 50 Easter bunnies that were sold to the McAuley community.

“She likes to crochet and knit, and she was selling them,” Burke said. “Everyone loved them. We know she really cares about the students at McAuley. She loves us and supports us.”

As for the profits, Sr. Maura donates them all to the school—unless there’s some expenses.

“I might keep $10 if I need some yarn, but I have so much now, I don’t really need it.”

Of course, the Mighty Macs were among the fans cheering on the Ramblers and their spiritual Super Fan, and Sr. Maura was proud to be among them.

“She was an inspiration to me,” Sr. Maura said.

Being a diehard Super Fan for all the Mighty Macs teams, Sr. Maura takes pride in having a long roster of fans of her own, which was obvious when a grandparent asked, “Which one is yours?” Sister’s reply was right on target.

“All of them.”