LOS FELIZ—On July 17, two sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary filed legal papers against the Los Angeles Archdiocese over the sale of their former convent, a multi-acre property in Los Feliz, to singer Katy Perry.
The property was designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1927 for Earle C. Anthony, an American businessman and philanthropist. At that time, it was known as the Anthony House. Sir Daniel J. and Countess Bernadine Murphy Donohue purchased the estate in the early 1950s. In 1971, the two donated it to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the property became known as the Cardinal Timothy Manning House of Prayer for Priests and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart Retreat House.
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are in the middle of a legal battle with the Los Angeles Archdiocese over the next owner of the house.
Sister Catherine Rose, 86, and Sister Rita Callanan, 77, contend that they were informed in September 2014 that Archbishop Jose Gomez had plans to sell the property to Perry for $14.5 million in cash.
In the initial meeting in May 2015 with the two nuns, Perry allegedly sang the gospel hymn “Oh Happy Day” for them and showed them a tattoo on her wrist that read “Jesus.” In statement to the Los Angeles Times, Sister Rita said, “Well, I found Katy Perry and I found her videos and…if it’s all right to say, I wasn’t happy with any of it.”
The sisters then decided to sell the property to local interior designer and urban developer Dana Hollister for $15.5 million. In 1998, Hollister purchased the Canfield-Moreno Estate in Silver Lake from Franciscan nuns. She renamed it “The Paramour’ and had plans to turn it into a boutique hotel that never came to fruition.
Archbishop Gomez allegedly agreed with the new choice of contender, but requested to see a proposal prior to approving the sale. The sisters allege that Gomez then refused to meet with them and instead continued to honor the agreement with Perry. The sisters continued to honor their agreement with Hollister.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese later sued Hollister, claiming that the sisters’ sale was illegal because the church had authority over the property. Attorneys for the sisters claim that that church never officially established legal control over the property until June 2015. They also claim that this was a “hostile takeover” from the sisters’ prior order.
Hollister has already moved into the property. In late June, Perry obtained permission from the courts to visit the property, accompanied by an architect.
The hearing is scheduled to proceed July 30.