Nun Says She’s Left With Nothing After Bitter Legal Fight With Katy Perry Over the Singer’s £10m Bid to Buy an Historic LA Convent Where Her Sisterhood Had Lived Over Four Decades

Struggling with ill-health, including breast cancer, Sister Rita Callanan looks into her pantry for scraps of food and sees, yet again, only cereal.

Her bank balance is zero, her healthcare cheque has bounced on more than one occasion and she’s not sure who’s going to foot the bill for her next round of cancer treatment.

Now 80 years old, she scratches her head in bemusement as to how this has all happened. A few years ago, she had hundreds of thousands in the bank and was a paper millionaire.

As one of the few remaining sisters alive, who belong to the historic Order of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Los Angeles, her future was secure. Their historic convent sits in the uber trendy Los Angeles suburb of Los Feliz and is today worth in excess of £10 million.

That is until Katy Perry came along. The 32-year-old singer tried to buy it without the nuns’ permission. She agreed a deal with the Royal Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles (RCA), headed by Archbishop Jose Gomez, who claims the convent is under its ownership and sold it to Perry for £10 million in July 2015.

But two nuns took exception to this. Sister Callanan and her fellow Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, 89 – a combined age of 169 years – claimed that it’s been the Order’s property for 45 years and it’s their right to sell it. They found a buyer in property developer Dana Hollister.

On Friday, in the latest round of the epic court battle, Sister Holzmann tragically collapsed and died in the Los Angeles courtroom. Now only Sister Callanan remains in the fight against Perry and the RCA. Sister Callanan has vowed to keep on fighting and asked the public to help the cause, setting up a GoFundMe page to help with their legal costs.

She says: ‘On March 9th, 2018 we tragically lost Sister Catherine Rose, my beloved fellow IHM Sister and original organizer of this GoFundMe campaign. She was my cherished partner in this ongoing legal battle to keep our convent. It is now more important than ever to continue this fight and for our cause to prevail.’

Independent of who is right or wrong, amid such a complex legal battle, there’s the human cost. Sister Callanan is suffering from cancer and diabetes while multi-millionaire Perry told the nuns that she wants the stunning 22,000ft Mediterranean-inspired property so that she can ‘sip green tea and find herself’.

Our exclusive images show why the stunning property – which was designed in an Italianate and Mediterranean style and has a monastery, fountains, a pool, and stunning views over the San Gabriel Mountains – is at the heart of such a fierce battle.

The house was built in 1927 for broadcaster and entrepreneur Earle Anthony, who enlisted the help of architect Bernard Maybeck. After being purchased by Sir Daniel Donohue and his wife Countess Bernardine Murphy Donohue in the early 1950s, they virtually gave it away to the sisters, who pooled their money together, and paid £431,000 in 1972 and paid it off over three years.

Sister Callanan says: ‘All we are asking is to sell our own property, keep our own money so we can take care of ourselves until the last person dies, then the money and property can go to the archbishop. There’s not many more years, give me a break. He’s supposed to be a chief shepherd.

In 2005, Archbishop was supposedly given the go-ahead by the Vatican to take control of the convent although this point is now being disputed. A ‘pontifical commissary’ was put in place – like a conservator of the estate – who assumes responsibility for the sisters.

But Sister Callanan says: ‘He claimed that Rome gave him permission, now we did a lot of research and Rome has done research, and these claims, this letter to give him authority was not from Rome, but a friend of the archbishop’s.

According to Sister Callanan, he started ‘sending us to retirement homes, one by one, separately, so we weren’t a unit.’ She says all their bank accounts were closed – they each had upwards of £215,000 in their accounts.

‘All these years of my religious life, I would never have expected to be fighting an archbishop to keep our own property and money, so we can care for ourselves. We don’t want the archbishop handling our money.

Sister Callanan is now at a tiny convent attached to St Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles; the convent is a depressing building, grey and cold, not even a hundredth of the size of their spiritual home.

Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail