Well some nuns, an archbishop, Katy Perry, and the owner of the Brite Spot have walked into a convent … and now they're all fighting each other for control. It is a really nice convent: the Medievalish former Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the hills of Los Feliz. The archdiocese emptied it out in 2011, against the will of the nuns (who are historically and famously rebellious). Now Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez says he has the right to sell the place and he plans to sell it to pop star Katy Perry for about $14.5 million, reports the LA Times. Two of the last five living nuns say they have the right to sell the place and they've already sold it to local restaurateur/aspiring hotelier Dana Hollister for about $15.5 million.
Hollister "has already moved in" and plans to turn the old convent into a boutique hotel, which would require a zoning change that the rich neighbors are probably not going to just let that happen without a fight. Hollister's quest to turn the old Pilgrim Church into Silver Lake's first boutique hotel has dragged on for years.
Meanwhile, Gomez is "completing the paperwork" on the sale to Perry, who has reportedly been interested in the convent for years and agreed to pay in cash. When she met with the elderly nuns recently, she "dressed rather conservatively, and according to two of the sisters, she sang 'Oh Happy Day' for them and showed them a 'Jesus' tattoo on her wrist area." She also said she planned to live on the estate "with her mother and grandmother, sit in the meditation garden, sip green tea and find herself."
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were known for adopting a set of progressive reforms in the 1960s, in response to Vatican II—they abandoned habits and and wanted to set their own bedtimes and times to pray. The local archdiocese cracked down, the Vatican refused to step in, and eventually 300 nuns broke with the church (forming the still-operating Immaculate Heart Community nearby). The nuns who met with Perry were mostly unimpressed.
The property "is the only well-authenticated building" in Los Angeles designed by architect Bernard Maybeck; he built it in 1927 for Earle C. Anthony, who founded KFI-AM and had a chain of Packard dealerships. In the 1950s, the house sold to Catholic philanthropists Daniel and Bernardine Murphy Donohue, who eventually sold it to the nuns at a discount (they pooled their money to buy it). Now the last sisters are worried the archdiocese will land a big windfall from selling the place and cut them out (they want their living expenses covered).
Meanwhile, the church has turned it all over to the state to deal with and the lawyers busily doing their thing. The archdiocese is now suing Hollister so they can void the nuns' sale and a judge has recently ruled that Perry can visit with her architect.
· Nuns fight plan to sell Hollywood convent to Katy Perry [LAT]
· Katy Perry [Curbed LA]