A property dispute involving a group of Los Angeles nuns and pop star Katy Perry took a deadly turn Friday after one of the nuns died during a court proceeding.
Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, 89, spoke to Stephanie Stanton's Fox 11 just hours before her death in a last ditch effort to save her convent from being sold to Perry.
"Katy Perry, please stop," the nun said during the interview. "Please stop trying to buy the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary's convent."
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles tried selling the property to Katy Perry after the convent's few remaining nuns vacated it several years ago. However, the nuns wanted to sell the property to Dana Hollister, who planned on turning the convent into a boutique hotel.
"We asked her to save us, to buy the property. She had nothing to do with forcing herself on us," Holzman told Fox 11.
However, on April 13, 2016, a judge ruled that the property belonged to the Archdiocese and the sisters could not sell the property to Hollister. Later, on November 17, 2017, a jury found Hollister guilty of malice and fraud for allegedly interfering with the sale between the Archdiocese and Katy Perry, and was ordered to pay $15 million in damages.
Hollister declared bankruptcy soon after.
The Archdiocese said in a statement that Hollister entered her separate deal with the two sisters "without the necessary requirements for approval by the Archdiocese."
"The Hollister deal allowed Hollister to take possession of the property for only $44,000 and a promissory note without any guarantee that the sisters would receive any additional payment," the statement continuted.
“The Archdiocese was forced to take legal action against Dana Hollister to protect the sisters from what the courts found to be a ‘bad deal,’” explained spokeswoman Adrian Marquez Alarcon. “Regardless of any sale the Archdiocese has pledged to take care of all the IHM Sister for the rest of their lives.”
Yet, the nuns believe the property is theirs and say they have official documentation to prove it.
"You have stolen the property of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. Please Archbishop, do what is right in your heart," Sister Rita Callanan told Fox 11. "We own the property, which was stolen. And I'm sorry but I can't sit back and let that happen."
The sisters also claim their convent is under direct control of the Vatican and the Archdiocese had no right to sell it.
"We have an agreement with Rome. It's in writing and it says if there are any disputes they are to be settled in Rome," said Callanan.
However, the Archdiocese disputes that claim, saying the Vatican "entrusted oversight of the order’s business affairs in 2005."
The nuns are now appealing to the Pope himself to help them get their convent back. Meanwhile, before collapsing and dying during a court proceeding related to the case, Sister Holzman made one last plea to Katy Perry.
"Please stop. It's not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people," she told Fox 11.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has since responded to the News of Holzman's passing.
“Sister Catherine Rose served the Church with dedication and love for many years and today we remember her life with gratitude,” said Archbishop José Gomez in a statement. “We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones.”