WHO: The Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province.
WHAT: The X factor for the Houston Astros as they pursue a World Series title.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: During the Astros’ recent American League Championship Series victory over the Boston Red Sox, Houston furniture store owner and local celebrity Jim McIngvale, better known as Mattress Mack, treated a group of nuns from the Houston-based Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province to tickets for games one and six of the series. The Astros won both. The sisters, whom Mack dubbed the Rally Nuns, will be back at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night as the Astros host the Atlanta Braves for game one of the World Series.
The sisters first appeared at game one of the ALCS, to which Mack invited thirty of them, and the Astros came away with a 5–4 victory. According to Houston’s KTRK-TV, the convent has a long-standing relationship with Mack through community service the sisters have performed in coordination with his Gallery Furniture stores. Naturally, Mack brought them back in a major way for game six, this time chartering a bus for about seventy nuns and a priest and putting them up in a suite above center field. One nun, Sister Mary Catherine Do, threw out the first pitch. Her toss caught the top of the strike zone and she reacted by tapping her wrist in homage to Carlos Correa’s “it’s our time” home run celebration. We love the passion, Mary Catherine.
From there, the Astros cruised to a 9–1 victory and punched their ticket to the World Series. Tonight, it’ll be 55 nuns at the ballpark on Mack’s dime. The cost of taking the nuns out to the ball game will pale in comparison with what Mack could earn if the Astros win it all; he bet $3.25 million on Houston back in June and is now four Astros wins away from collecting $35.6 million. Expect to see the nuns at every game possible if Houston keeps winning.
Of course, this isn’t the first high-profile instance of a sports-mad nun becoming a team’s good luck charm. Sister Jean, the chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball team, wound up being better known for inspiring the Ramblers’ Cinderella run to the 2018 Final Four than most of the players who got them there. Nor is it the first time Mattress Mack has invited nuns to Astros’ games in hopes of improving the team’s fortunes—during the 2019 World Series, which Houston lost in seven games to the Washington Nationals, Mack brought the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Whether or not the sisters’ presence this year spurs Houston to another World Series title, it’s great to see Mattress Mack’s nun strategy finally paying off. Plus, how can you not love hearing Sister Mary Catherine gush over having rooted for the Astros for two decades before throwing out the first pitch of game six with “Rally Nuns” printed on the back of her jersey? At minimum, the heartwarming story pulls some focus from that one bad thing the Astros did.