Pop Star Katy Perry has been in a three-year protracted legal battle with two nuns to buy the Los Feliz convent in Los Angeles, California. The fight for the property took a sad turn when one of the nuns at the center of the legal fight collapsed and died in court.
Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, died in court in the middle of a hearing on the long-running matter. She was 89 years-old. Sister Holzman was one of two nuns who had tried to sell the Los Feliz convent where they lived to a restaurant owner named Dana Hollister for just $44,000, as an alternative to selling it to the Katy Perry.
Perry offered to buy the convent from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for almost $15 million in 2014. But the nuns made a deal with the restaurant owner to prevent the sale to Perry. “It would be a sin to sell to her,” the nuns declared. Perry and the Archdiocese successfully sued Hollister over her interference; they were awarded $15 million between them in punitive damages in December. Hollister has had to file bankruptcy over this. She was not directly involved in the dispute, but has been destroyed over it.
Hours before Sister Holzman’s death at a post-judgement hearing, she begged Perry to relent and back off. She said during an interview with Fox11 LA: “And to Katy Perry, please stop. It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people.” The nuns claimed they legally owned the convent and that papers filed with the Vatican proved it. The convent was built in 1927. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck and they had lived there since 1978.
The sisters said the Archdiocese should not have become involved in the case. “You have stolen the property of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. Please archbishop… Do what is right in your heart,” Callahan begged in the televised interview just before her friend’s death. The archbishop however was unmoved by the plea of the sisters and the move must have been sanctioned by the Vatican.
The sisters adamantly defended Hollister, who wanted to turn the 20,000 square-foot property into a boutique hotel with the nun’s blessing, but has now been forced to declare bankruptcy. They were selling it to Hollister for $44,000 even after receiving the $15 million offer from Perry. They did not want the property to fall into her hands.
“We asked her to save us, to buy the property,” the late Holzman said. “She had nothing to do with forcing herself on us.” Hollister had listed her net worth on a loan application at around $16 million in 2014. While Hollister’s bid of $44,000 was accepted by the nuns, Perry was willing to pay $10 million to the nuns in cash, plus an additional $4.5 million for the home’s House of Prayers, an Archdiocese spokesperson previously said.
A judge voided Hollister’s sale last year, saying the archdiocese had the right to sell the property, not the nuns. This, despite documents declaring the nuns the rightful owners of said property. In December, a jury in LA awarded a total of $10 million in punitive damages to Perry and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; It followed an earlier decision to award $5 million in compensatory damages divided between the two entities on November 17. In the lawsuit, the jury found that Hollister interfered with contractual relations and other misdeeds. They also found that her actions led to Perry and the archdiocese having to pay exorbitant lawyer fees and other costs, which Hollister should get the bill for. The attorneys for Perry and the archdiocese were very good at their jobs.
The Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary haven’t lived in the convent for several years, with the archdiocese emptying it against their wishes in 2011. This fight with the archdiocese over the property predates Perry’s offer. The nuns have also defied the archdiocese for decades on certain issues. Back in the 1960s, the nuns abandoned the practice of wearing habits and wanted to set their own bedtimes and times to pray. A crackdown by the archdiocese followed. When the Vatican refused to step in, 300 nuns broke with the church and formed their own community.
Katy Perry owns numerous multi-million dollar estates that are heavily walled and guarded by armed security. She is the daughter of two Pentecostal pastors; her very first album — Katy Hudson, which sold less than 200 copies — was a Christian music record. She is now an atheist, feminist and devoted leftist. The nuns would not sell to her because they considered Perry immoral. Sister Catherine previously spoke out against selling the property to Katy, insisting that she was the wrong person to maintain the convent’s legacy. During an interview in 2015, she explained: “After she spoke [about] her lifestyle, and what we have been teaching for years and our older sisters have been teaching, and what we believe in, [she] just did not fit.”
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