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Nun in Katy Perry convent case dies in court

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A bizarre story takes a tragic turn

The entrance to the Bernard Maybeck-designed compound, built in 1927.
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In yet another twist to one of LA’s strangest real estate battles, one of the nuns who disagreed with the judge’s decision to award ownership of a Los Feliz convent to singer Katy Perry has died.

According to ABC7, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman collapsed on Friday in the courtroom during a hearing about the case. She was 89.

The convent has been legal limbo since Perry tried to buy the eight-acre complex in 2014, when she was told by nuns who managed the property that they had already sold it to Silver Lake restauranteur and designer Dana Hollister. A Los Angeles County judge awarded ownership of the convent to Perry in 2016.

Earlier last week, a December ruling that ordered Hollister to pay $15 million in damages for interfering with the sale was put on hold when Hollister filed for bankruptcy.

Holzman was one of two nuns who had lived on the property since the 1970s and did not want to sell to Perry. In an interview with Fox 11 just hours before her death, Holzman pleaded to the camera, “Katy Perry, please stop. It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people.”

Sister Rita Callanan added that the sisters planned to fight the ruling. “We’re trying to get out to the public to say what is being done to Dana Hollister is absolutely wrong, the judge was wrong, the jury was wrong.”

The sisters were planning to appeal directly to Pope Francis to regain ownership of the property, which they claim is under direct control of the Vatican, not the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The case had put Holzman and Callanan at odds with Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, who had publicly challenged the sisters in court. Gomez issued a statement to NPR about Holzman’s death. “I was sad to hear the news of her passing and I have offered a Mass for the repose of her soul,” Gomez said. “We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones.”