Sister Mary Jo Sobieck's Glorious Pitch
October 9, 2018
Sister Mary Jo Sobieck’s opening pitch at the White Sox versus Royals game last August drew national attention from baseball fans and Catholics nationwide. Sobieck’s story has become viral on the Internet, featured on several websites involving sports, athletics, and Christian life. In fact, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has created their own model of Sobieck delivering the pitch! Sister Mary Jo’s passions of being physically active and serving others in the light of God are deep seated, forming their roots in Central Minnesota.
Sister Mary Jo’s athletic talents can be traced back to her childhood. Playing for the St. Cloud PAA (Parochial Athletic Association), Sobieck became involved with volleyball and softball in 5th grade. Beginning her scholarly pursuits at Vermillion College, Sobieck went on to the College of St. Scholastica where she graduated with a degree in elementary education, emphasis on coaching. Additionally, Sister Mary Jo participated in volleyball and softball throughout her undergraduate career.
A 2007 graduate of the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, Sobieck’s monastic journey began in 1993, entering the novitiate at the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL. Sister Mary Jo taught religion at various Catholic elementary schools in the state before returning to her native Central Minnesota, where she completed her master’s degree in systematic theology. Many of Sobieck’s teachers throughout elementary and middle schools were members of monastic orders, and having professors who were members of the Benedictine community gave her a sense of nostalgia as she engaged in theological curriculum. One of the most memorable aspects of her time at Saint John’s was her class on God and Evil, which incorporated both lecture and debate as tools for learning. Sobieck reminisced that the class “got me to think more openly and deeply about God. The truth isn’t always what is but what’s not.”
Today, Sister Mary Jo strives to incorporate philosophical thinking into her religion classes at Marian Catholic High School, located in a suburb outside of Chicago. This method helps students engage in critical discussions which help them to think morally and grow from one another. Looking back, Sobieck is grateful for her time at the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary. The incorporation of Benedictine values into daily life helped to ground her and enforced the appreciation of each moment. Sobieck reflected on her daily mass attendance with the monastic community and personal prayer. These practices gave her the motivation to conquer each opportunity in life with full vigor and dedication.
Aside from her involvement in academics, Sister Mary Jo is passionate about living out her purpose. Referred to as “MOJO” by many of her students, Sobieck emphasized her drive to seek out new opportunities and help others. Sister Mary Jo’s involvement in her local community and monastic environment serve as a testament to her mantra of selflessness. Sobieck believes these ideals help to promote authenticity and reality in the world—something she hopes to pass on to her students. “It’s going to go viral,” she says. Sister Mary Jo’s example of living with virtue is truly a home run.