Pop star Katy Perry has found herself caught in fireworks between the Los Angeles Archbishop and two elderly nuns over who has the right to sell a historic convent in the city's affluent Los Feliz neighborhood.
The Los Angeles Times said yesterday that two of the last five living sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sold the multiacre villa more than two weeks ago to restaurateur Dana Hollister for about $15.5 million.
An attorney for Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez, however, told the newspaper that in 2005, the Vatican gave decision-making power over the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart to an appointee of Gómez's predecessor, and that the archdiocese owns the property. It is finalizing documents on a $14.5 million cash sale to Perry, 30, and has sued Hollister to have the sale rescinded, the paper said, adding that last week the court allowed Perry and her architect to visit the property.
A conservatively dressed Perry, the paper said, actually met with the nuns in May and sang the gospel standard "Oh Happy Day." One of the nuns, Sister Rita Callanan, said the singer made a good impression and that she had explained she would live there with her mother and grandmother.
The sprawling complex by architect Bernard Maybeck, who also designed San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, was completed in 1928 for Packard automobile-dealership mogul Earl Anthony. It later became the home of Daniel J. Donohue, longtime head of the Dan Murphy Foundation, a Catholic philanthropy. In a memorial to Donohue that was written at Thomas Aquinas College upon his death last year, he renamed the property Villa San Giuseppe and donated it in the 1960s to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which made it a home for nuns and priests.
Sister Callanan told the Los Angeles Times that decades ago the nuns pooled their funds and bought the property from a benefactor she did not name.