Meet Sister Betty, the court nun who prays for the Newfoundland Rogues


The cheers of fans in a stadium may be motivation and fuel for some basketball players, but Sister Betty Morrissey believes the true power lies in silence.

“I go into the locker room, say a prayer before and a prayer after,” Morrissey says. “And when I go in… they’re very quiet and you know they’re being listened to in their soul.”

Morrissey is the chaplain of the Newfoundland Rogues basketball team, which was founded in 2021 and is competing in its current season in the TBL, the Basketball League.

Morrissey is in a seat behind the visitor's section at every home game at Mary Brown's Center in St. John's. She proudly wears a yellow Rogues jersey with the number 21 on the back. A necklace with a crucifix hangs around her neck on the front.

Her all-access pass simply says “Sister Betty.”

Mike Rossiter/CBCMike Rossiter/CBC

Mike Rossiter/CBC

Rogues owner Tony Kenny asked Morrissey to lead the team in Catholic prayer in the locker room at the start of each game and in the halfcourt after the final buzzer.

However, having a nun on the team is not uncommon: Most professional sports organizations, including all 30 NBA teams, have a team chaplain.

“When I walk in or am with them, I feel like the silence tells me that they are listening and taking in every word I say,” Morrissey says.

“So I prepared some prayers for them, and I prepared the prayers in the sense that I wanted them to listen and be cared for. To understand that they will be cared for here like they would at home.”

WATCH: Sister Betty Morrissey brings some peace and kindness to the Newfoundland Rogues on the sidelines:

Morrissey's compassion comes through when she speaks, but she's a little less calm when the Rogues score a big basket. Her face lights up as she cheers on the team. While it may come as a surprise to outsiders, she said everyone who knows her thinks the role is a perfect fit for her.

Morrissey held her book as she was interviewed during halftime at a recent game. The words “Prayers for Basketball” are highlighted in yellow with a highlighter pen.

“It’s important for the people on the team. “It’s important for young men,” she says.

Mike Rossiter/CBCMike Rossiter/CBC

Mike Rossiter/CBC

Jacorie Archie, a 23-year-old shooting guard from Jacksonville, Florida, first set foot in Canada in January. He says St. John's and Rogues fans treat him well. Archie particularly values ​​Sister Betty.

“I miss my grandmother, so she’s the next step there. She was wonderful, man. She was always there for me, was always there for the teammates,” he said.

“She was good, man. I’m just thankful for them.”

26-year-old Brandon Johnson is a 6-foot-2 forward from South Carolina.

“The organization loves its players,” Johnson said. “They help us mentally, physically and just build a family. That's the most important thing I wanted to be with. It was a blessing to be a part of it.”

Morrissey has been in the sorority for 60 years and has been involved in basketball for 50 years. She used to coach high school basketball games and travel to tournaments. During this time she always believed in the higher power of good sportsmanship.

“We were playing against a team we had beaten, and at the end of the game when I went to the middle of the field, our coach Jerry Williams invited the team we had beaten and they all gathered around us,” explained the sister.

“So I had to change my prayer and put in different words to make sure they were included and invited.”

Despite a win or a loss, all of the Rogues' players and coaches make their way to center court when the final buzzer sounds, standing arm in arm and listening to Morrissey lead them in prayer.

The team has 14 wins and 14 losses as of April 19, but Sister Betty's prayers seem to be paying off lately: The team is currently on a five-game winning streak.

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