Sister Catherine Dies at Katy Perry Court Hearing to Take over Convent

Katy Perry (Jesse Grant / Getty)
Jesse Grant / Getty
Newport Beach, CA

Catholic Sister Catherine Rose Holzman “collapsed and died” Friday evening in a Los Angeles courtroom after testifying regarding Katy Perry’s lawsuit to take over a convent without the nuns’ approval.

Just hours before her death on Friday, 89-year-old Sister Catherine and aging Sister Callahan went on Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV to condemn a recent judge’s ruling that cleared the way for the 33-year old pop star to gain control a the 22,000 sq. ft. hilltop Mediterranean mansion bought four decades ago by the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin.

Dressed in their habits, Sister Callahan told reporters, “You have stolen the property of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. Please archbishop … Do what is right in your heart.”

Shortly thereafter, as noted by the Hollywood Reporter, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman testified at a courtroom post-judgment hearing regarding a jury approving the L.A. Catholic Archdiocese’s sale of the convent to Perry, then punishing the sisters’ alternative buyer with $15 million in damages for malice and fraud.

Sister Catherine told the court their buyer, local restaurateur Dana Hollister, had never deceived the nuns. She added, “And to Katy Perry, please stop. It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people.” She collapsed and died shortly thereafter.

The dispute began when the sisters began the process to sell the property in 2014. But the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles stepped in, claiming that under the 1983 Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, all Church property belongs to the local diocese, rather than belonging to priests and nuns that live in work in churches and convents.

While Archbishop Jose Gomez was negotiating a cash sale of the property to Katy Perry for $14.5 million, the Sisters sold the property Hollister for $20.3 million, in a note.

With the sisters petitioning the Vatican for sale approval, but the matter not yet decided, the Archbishop and Katy Perry sued the sisters for interference after they proceeded to execute the deed with Hollister.

The Sisters submitted a petition to the Roman Rota Tribunal, the Roman Catholic Church’s highest appellate tribunal, for approval of the Hollister transaction. But the tribunal’s December 2016 ruling — written in Latin –became the subject of dueling translations.

Despite the nuns’ attorney, Margaret Cone, claiming the L.A. Diocese knew the final decision was pending at the Vatican’s Dicastery, Judge Stephanie Bowick let a jury award the L.A. Archdiocese and Perry $15 million in malice and fraud damages against Hollister.

The Sisters have created a website titled “Stand with the Sisters” to protest the sale to Katy Perry.

The LA Archdiocese issued a statement of condolences for the Nun’s passing:

“Sister Catherine Rose served the Church with dedication and love for many years and today we remember her life with gratitude. We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones.”

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