Phoenix’s Super Bowl Nuns

For the second time in seven years, Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery is hosting devout football fans attending Sunday’s big game.

Sister Linda Campbell has a favorite?
Sister Linda Campbell has a favorite? (photo: Chris Kudialis)

PHOENIX — For the tens of thousands of fans migrating to southern Arizona for Sunday’s Super Bowl, finding a place to stay can be one of the hardest parts of the weekend.

But with hotel prices ranging from $250 to more than $2,000 a night in Glendale, Ariz., and neighboring Phoenix, a local monastery may be the most economical — and holy — option.

For the second time in seven years, Phoenix’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Benedictine Monastery is opening its doors to the public, offering fans a peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of the downtown Super Bowl hotel scene. At a competitively priced $300 a night, the monastery’s eight guest rooms can hold up to five visitors each.

“I kept hearing about people in the area opening their houses for rent,” Sister Linda Campbell, a resident at Our Lady of Guadalupe, told the Register. “And I thought, ‘Why can’t we try it, too?’”

Sister Linda also welcomed tourists in February 2008, when the New York Giants edged the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Though her sold-out monastery included fans of both teams, she said visitors from New England and New York avoided any kind of confrontation during their respective stays.

“We enjoy sharing this time together, and that’s something I never worry about,” she said about the possibility of feuding fans. “Somehow or another, God takes care of it.”

To Sister Linda’s knowledge, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only location in the Diocese of Phoenix offering tourists a place to stay. Though tobacco, alcohol and profanity is banned at the monastery, guests have access to Wi-Fi, free breakfast, peace and quiet and, perhaps most importantly, Sunday Mass.

“Folks are supportive of being able to be in a place where there’s a faith community and not a lot of loud activity,” she said. “I think people really process that before they call here.”

Sister Linda is also one of the monastery’s founding members, who transformed the seven-acre property from a tree nursery in 1998. Because the land is so fertile, Our Lady of Guadalupe uses its property to grow vegetables for low-income families and local elementary schools. Sister Linda also sponsors groups from local Desert Horizon Elementary School and teaches poor families how to grow fruits and vegetables organically.

“The funds we raise from the Super Bowl contribute to our ministry and outreach to the poor,” she explained. “It’s a situation where everybody wins.”

As of Saturday morning, only two of the monastery’s available rooms have been rented. Though she rented all eight rooms for the 2008 Super Bowl, Sister Linda said she expects the 2015 version to be just as enjoyable — with Benedictine Oblates and day community members joining in  Our Lady of Guadalupe’s game-day celebration.

“We have a wonderful community of faithful Catholics and devout NFL fans that come here,” Sister Linda said, “and we’re going to cherish this time together.”

As for Sunday’s winner between the Patriots and defending champion Seattle Seahawks, Sister Linda said that’s another story.

“I don’t think God picks favorites on the field,” she laughed. “We’re just hoping for a good game.”

Chris Kudialis writes from Las Vegas.