Superstar Katy Perry entered into an agreement with Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to purchase an eight acre oasis in the heart of Los Angeles that used to serve as the convent for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Perry agreed to buy the hilltop property for $14.5 million. But now, the nuns that used to live there are saying that the property wasn’t the archdiocese’s to sell and that they’ve already sold the property to local restaurateur Dana Hollister for $15.5 million, according to a June 29 report from TODAY.
The sisters say that years ago they had pooled their resources to purchase the convent and the grounds it sits on and that only they could sell it, a contention that’s being disputed by the archbishop. The nuns signed the papers to sell the convent about two weeks ago to Hollister.
Although a total of 52 nuns used to reside in the convent, the diocese began relocating the sisters beginning in 2011 to different locations. Only five of those original 52 Immaculate Heart sisters are still alive. Two of those sisters claim that they own the convent.
Desperately wanting to own that property, singer Katy Perry got personally involved and met with the sisters. Perry even serenaded the sisters with her rendition of the gospel classic “Oh Happy Day.” Perry comes from a devout Christian family. Her father was a pastor; and her first album was a release of Christian songs.
But the sisters weren’t impressed. After checking out Perry’s Super Bowl performance and some of her videos, TODAY quoted Sister Rita Callanan as saying “Our days have not been happy since then, I can assure you.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Hollister has already moved into the former convent and that “she might or might not try to turn the property into a boutique hotel, as rumors have it — but that would require zoning changes, and residents of the quiet neighborhood are already rallying against it.” The diocese however is sticking by their guns and saying that the sisters did not have the right to sell that property. The diocese is still planning on going through with their agreement to sell the property to Perry.
What’s next will be a call to a higher power, if not the Vatican, then a Los Angeles judge. TODAY quoted Sister Callahan as saying that “God help us, we are going to fight this!”
Reportedly, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has already sued Hollister and is trying to have her purchase of the convent voided. The diocese also filed a court order allowing Perry and her architect to visit the hilltop property. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.