Nun dies in court during Katy Perry legal battle

Section
Celebrity,
Publish Date
Sunday, 11 March 2018, 10:00AM

Katy Perry's court battle to buy an LA convent took a tragic turn on Friday.

One of the nuns at the center of the legal drama, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, died in court in the middle of a hearing on the long-running matter.

The 89-year-old 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 ($60,400), as an alternative to selling it to the pop star.

Katy Perry had offered to buy it from Archdiocese of Los Angeles for almost $15 million ($20.5m) in 2014, reports the Daily Mail.

The singer's deal was scuppered by the move.

Perry and the Archdiocese successfully sued Hollister over her interference; they were awarded $15 million between them in punitive damages in December.

During a post-judgement hearing on Friday, Sister Holzman collapsed and died.

Hours before her death, she pleaded with the Roar hitmaker to back off, saying 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."

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.

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary property in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Photo / AP

They 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.

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."

Hollister had listed her net worth on a loan application at around $16 million ($21.9m) in 2014.

Sister Catherine Rose and Sister Rita Callanan stand outside the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Photo / Getty Images

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 told DailyMail.com.

A judge voided Hollister's sale last year, saying the archdiocese had the right to sell the property, not the nuns.

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 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.

Even before the dispute over ownership, The Sisters were at loggerheads with the archdiocese.

Back in the 1960s they abandoned the practice of wearing habits and wanted to set their own bedtimes and times to pray.

However a crackdown by the archdiocese followed. When the Vatican refused to step in, 300 nuns broke with the church and formed their own community.

As for Perry, 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.