Spanish soccer team supported by nuns' prayers

.- Argentinean coach Marcelo Bielsa – whose soccer team from Bilbao is making headlines with a winning record in the Europa League – revealed that he gets “help from on high” through the prayers of a Spanish community of cloistered nuns.

Since last October, the fifteen contemplative nuns at the St. Clare Convent in Guernica have been praying for Coach Bielsa and his team.

Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported that the unusual relationship forged on Oct. 3 of 2011 when Biesla and his wife Laura made a visit to the convent.

“At first we weren’t sure if we should let him in, because we didn’t know who he was, so we made sure first and then we let him in,” said Mother Maria Teresa Gerrikabeitia, the convent superior.

Once inside, Bielsa introduced himself as an Argentinean and as the coach of Bilbao Athletic.

“We were truly surprised and amazed that such an important person as him would be interested in visiting this small group of nuns who live behind the cloister,” Mother Maria Teresa said. “We found him and his wife to be a wonderful couple.”

During the meeting, Bielsa shared his faith with the nuns. 

“He told us he had an aunt who was a nun and that she was the reason his faith in prayer grew. He also told us he is very Catholic and he asked us to pray for him and for Athletic. 

And he told us to watch the games because he would have a sign out with our names on it to say hello to us. However, we couldn’t watch the games because they are on pay-per-view,” the superior said.

The community accepted his request and at 8pm that Monday, when Athletic faced off against Pamplona, the fifteen nuns prayed for the team.

“Since he seemed to be a very religious man of great faith, we were pleased to grant his request. Even though we are not big soccer fans, we sat down to listen to the game on the radio,” Mother Maria Teresa added. 

During a game on Oct. 17, Bielsa had a sign with the words “Poor Clares” hung from the substitute bench on the field, but one of the referees ordered it be taken down. Athletic still ended up winning the match by 3-1.

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