The lengthy court battle of the Los Angeles estate between two Catholic nuns and pop icon Katy Perry took a tragic turn as 89-year-old Sister Catherine Rose Holzman died in court during a hearing.
As Daily Mail reports the unexpected death comes after years of controversy between the nuns, Perry, a restaurant owner named Dana Hollister and Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
When Perry expressed interest in buying the LA convent in 2014 for more than $10 million, the nuns refused and instead offered the property to Hollister for $44,000.
The move was challenged by Perry and the Archdiocese, who claimed the archbishop had the right over the property, not the nuns. Perry and the archdiocese subsequently sued the restaurant owner over her interference. Daily Mail reports, “they were awarded $15 million between them in punitive damages in December.”
The long-running matter over the sale of the Los Feliz convent was dragged over four years until, as Fox 7 reports, the nun “collapsed and died Friday during a court proceeding.”
“Pulling no punches, Sisters Rita Callanan and Holzman of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart spoke out for the first time since an LA County judge ruled against them clearing the way for the LA Archdiocese to sell their Los Feliz convent to singer Katy Perry,” the report continues.
“You have stolen the property of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. Please archbishop… Do what is right in your heart,” Callahan said in the court hearing, via Fox 7.
“And to Katy Perry, please stop. It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people,” Holzman said moments before she passed away.
Per Daily Mail:
She and Sister Rita Callanan claimed to have documents from the Vatican which proved they were the rightful owners of the 1927-built Bernard Maybeck-designed compound, which they had lived in since 1978.
They said the Archdiocese should not have become involved in the case.
They 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.
‘We asked her to save us, to buy the property,’ the late Holzman said. ‘She had nothing to do with forcing herself on us.’
And, from Fox 7:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
But last fall, a jury found Hollister guilty of malice and fraud for allegedly interfering with the sale of the property. She was ordered to pay $15 million in damages to the LA Archdiocese and Perry’s lawyers. Hollister filed for bankruptcy and for now, the judge has put all proceedings on hold.
“We’re trying to get out to the public to say what is being done to Dana Hollister is absolutely wrong, the judge was wrong, the jury was wrong. They even admitted it afterwards because they didn’t get both sides of the story,” Callanan said.
In fact, the Sisters say, the case never should have gone to local court in the first place. They say their convent is under the direct control of the Vatican and has never been a part of the LA Archdiocese.
The nuns say they are now appealing to Pope Francis directly to give them their convent back.