Sister Lisa brings sports and spiritual inspiration to St. Scholastica sidelines


Sister Lisa Maurer isn't your ordinary nun.

She's a member of the Benedictine order at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, but during the fall, you'll often find her on the sidelines of the football field.

Sister Lisa is an assistant coach for the Saints, who went 10-1 last season and are 3-1 so far this season.

She's probably the only nun in the U.S. who also coaches college football, and she's attracted quite a bit of media attention because of that. In fact, CBS News aired a feature story on Sister Lisa Tuesday night on its Evening News program.

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Sister Lisa came late to the religious life. She was a teacher and coach at St. Mary's in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, before she joined the convent in 2007 and took her vows in 2012.

Sister Lisa, 44, was involved in athletics all through high school, college and at St. Mary's, and she told the Duluth News Tribune in a profile published last year that it was a big part of her life.

“Giving that up was one of the things I had to do when I entered religious life, and I missed it," she said.

She became a regular attendee at sporting events on campus, and then starting hanging around at football practices because she "wanted to hear the whistles," she said, according to CBS.

Head coach Kurt Ramler became friends with Sister Lisa, and eventually invited her to join his staff to coach the kickers and punters.

Maurer didn’t have any experience with kickers, but she knew a lot about football and was an eager learner, the News Tribune reported.

Of course, she brings more to the sidelines than just football know-how. Sister Lisa has a good rapport with the young men on the team, and she brings a spiritual dimension to their routine.

The team's pregame preparation includes prayers led by players, But Sister Lisa also writes a prayer that she prints out and gives to them at every pre game meal during the season.

"We strive to be a team that all the sisters in the abbey can be proud of," coach Ramler told the News Tribune last year. "This is one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of. ... and Sister Lisa has kind of been the glue that keeps us all together.”

"It's not just about football. It's about teamwork," Sister Lisa told CBS News. "It's about doing the best. It's about having pride in who we are, looking out for one another."

She added, "Isn't that awesome ... I get to pray and be a football coach. That's pretty cool."

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