(RNS) — Sister Margaret Fagan, principal of St. Aloysius Academy for Boys in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, a half hour west of downtown Philadelphia, is so sure the local team will win the Super Bowl on Sunday that she’s already designated Monday a school holiday.Fagan’s decision to give the kids an extra day off isn’t only for her students: It’s rooted in her own deep affection for the Philadelphia Eagles, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL title game in Arizona this weekend. Growing up, Fagan and her brother were such devoted Eagles fans that they used to attend the team’s training camps.
Many Catholic nuns, in the Philadelphia area as elsewhere, are known to be among the country’s most rabid sports fans.
“I’m sure the sisters in Kansas City are praying as hard,” Fagan said wryly.
Though anecdotal, Catholic sisters’ high rate of interest in sports is well-documented, even if some of the fascination is fed in part by the unusual juxtaposition of, say, a habit-wearing religious with a wicked curveball.
“I’m a little sports-crazy,” confessed Sister Kathleen Moriarty, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, a congregation of some 550 nuns in the city’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood. Though her own favorite sport is rodeo — in the St. Joseph convent her nickname is Rodie — Moriarty takes a truly catholic approach to fandom. With family all over the country and jerseys, hats and other gear to prov …