Nuns Fight for Convent Sold to Katy Perry

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Archbishop of Los Angeles has no legal right to sell an eight-acre property to pop star Katy Perry, two nuns claim in court.
     Sisters Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, of the California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seek a restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court to stop the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles from pushing through the sale.
     According to their petition for a determination of the directors and officers of the nuns’ order, Archbishop Jose Gomez elected himself and Monsignor Joseph Brennan as directors and officers of the order on June 5 when Gomez knew the order’s counsel was traveling.
     “The election of RCALA and Msgr. Brennan were, in fact, directly contrary to the constitution of the religious order of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which provides that only sisters may serve as superior general, assistant superior general and general councilors, and therefore as directors or officers,” the petition claims.
     Callanan and Holzman say they were elected in June as chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively.
     “Accordingly, defendants are conspiring to displace the duly elected and empowered directors and officers of the institute, to eliminate completion for the election of directors by holding unauthorized elections and unlawfully terminating Sr. Catherine Rose and Sr. Rita as directors and officers of the institute in contravention of the amended articles of incorporation, amended bylaws and constitution of the institute,” the sisters say.
     They claim in the time Gomez and Brennan elected themselves as directors they have been “attempting to sell valuable real property belonging to the institute,” including an eight-acre property with the order’s convent to pop star Katy Perry. Callanan and Holzman have already sold the property to restaurateur Dana Hollister, however.
     Neither Perry nor Hollister are parties to the sisters’ petition.
     According to reports, Perry offered $10 million in cash for the property, with another $4.5 million to buy a new retreat house for priests.
     “I would like to reiterate my continued commitment to all of the Immaculate Heart sisters that the archdiocese will take care of them and ensure their well-being now and in the future,” Gomez said in a statement.
     The sisters want a finding that the archbishop’s amendement of the order’s bylaws is invalid, that the directors of the institute may only be the sisters, and that the sisters are the elected officers of the institute and the only people with authority to sell the assets of the order.
     They are represented by entertainment firm Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger, which was not immediately available for comment.

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