Cathedral grad throws ‘nun-believable’ strike at White Sox game

Dominican Sister Mary Jo Sobieck stood grinning at the pitcher’s mound at the Chicago White Sox game, ready to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Marian Catholic Night, Aug. 18.

But first, Sister Mary Jo, wearing a white Marian Catholic Spartans jersey over the top of her white habit and her black headpiece, flipped the baseball up to her bicep and back to her hand.

A second later, she whistled a strike, right over the plate, stunning the people in the stands.

Dominican Sister Mary Jo Sobieck, a theology teacher at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago, throws out the ceremonial first pitch during the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals game Aug. 18 in Chicago. Sister Mary Jo, an athlete and graduate of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud, Minn., bounced the ball off her arm before coming to a set position and letting loose with a curveball. (CNS photo/Anthony Peter, Chicago White Sox)

The story since has gone viral. Sister Mary Jo has appeared on “Good Morning America” and now a bobblehead is in the works.

“Mary Jo said this whole thing is just ‘nun-believable’ — the bobblehead, the ‘Good Morning America,’ going viral,” Molly Weyrens said. Weyrens is one of a group of close friends who graduated with Sister Mary Jo from St. Cloud’s Cathedral High School in 1987. “She’s such a great person and advocate for the church and faith and her school and sports. On this game day, all of her passions came together.”

Katie Symalla Kunkel is another Cathedral classmate who’s kept in regular contact, most recently at the Benton County Fair in August.

“At Cathedral she was a really good three-sport athlete — in softball, volleyball and basketball,” said Kunkel, who played basketball with her. “But our senior year she didn’t play basketball. On each game day, she wrote all of us players letters of support and put them in our lockers. I’ve saved nearly every one. It shows the kind of person she was — and is.”

Sister Mary Jo earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, where she played softball and volleyball. After graduation, she taught at Holy Rosary School in Duluth, and entered the Dominican community in 1993. She received her master’s degree at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is accepting presales at $33 ($25 plus $8 shipping), and will ship the Sister Mary Jo bobbleheads in December. Five dollars from every Sobieck bobblehead will go back to Marian Catholic School.

For information on the bobblehead, contact the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame at 800-414-1482 or at and type Sister Mary Jo Sobieck in the search box.

Author: Nikki Rajala

Nikki Rajala is a writer/copy editor for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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