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At $250 a night, monastery lodgings are second to nun

February 01, 2008|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

PHOENIX -- So you're having a tough time finding lodging for Super Bowl XLII?

Get thee to a nunnery.

Or you could have, at least, until the last of the 10 rooms at the Our Lady of Guadalupe monastery was booked this week.

"I'm most excited to meet them," said Sister Linda Campbell, one of three Benedictine nuns who have converted their two-acre spiritual retreat into comfortable accommodations for football fans coming to town for the game.

The 6,000-square-foot home, in the heart of a residential neighborhood, features a chapel for reflection, a great room complete with a large flat-screen television, a spacious kitchen the guests can use, and a refrigerator the nuns have thoughtfully stocked with snacks, soda and juice.

At $250 a room per night -- plus $50 for each additional guest -- it's by far the best deal in town. That's assuming you can live with the two firm house rules: no drinking, no smoking.

"But they're welcome to wine and dine as much as they wish off the grounds," said Grace Galaviz, a parish member who volunteers at the facility, which is open to all faiths.

The monastery is three miles from University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday, and the nuns plan to supply guests with all sorts of literature for restaurants and interesting things to do around the city.

Sister Linda was fretting this week because the wireless Internet signal was down, so she spent Wednesday making backup arrangements at a nearby cellular store.

The nuns hope to expand the facility and were looking for ways to raise money to cover their increasing mortgage payments. The Super Bowl provided the ideal opportunity, far better than the $1,000 they had been earning from garage sales.

Besides, Sister Linda said, "Our greatest charism is our hospitality."

Fans of both the New England Patriots and New York Giants have booked rooms, and they might even have to share bathrooms. One man from New York is bringing his 6-year-old son, who suffered a broken leg and underwent surgery last week. The boy needed a room that's wheelchair-accessible.

"The people that have made the commitment to come are really excited about being here," Sister Linda said. "They wanted a place that was out of the noise and action and felt more like home."

As for her, she's an Arizona Cardinals fan and adorns her couch with two team pillows. Maybe next year, she said, her team will make it to the Super Bowl.

Now that will test the power of prayer.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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