The years-long dispute centres on which party had the legal authority to sell the convent of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of which Sister Catherine Rose Holzman was one of two remaining nuns. The Sisters no longer lived in the convent, and agreed to sell the valuable property in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighbourhood to restaurateur Dana Hollister for $15.5 million (£11.2 million). Hollister had intended to turn the convent into a boutique hotel; local residents reportedly did not favour commercial redevelopment of the eight-acre property.
But the convent had been repossessed by The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who sold the building to Katy Perry for $14.5 million (£10.5 million). The lawsuit alleges that the nuns were not allowed to sell the property because it belonged to the Catholic Church, and a judge agreed: in December 2017, the court ruled that Perry was allowed to complete the sale in order to turn the convent into her new home. The Sisters appealed the ruling; Sister Holzman appeared in court today in relation to that appeal.
Variety reports that Sister Holzman spoke to local Fox affiliate KTTV News shortly before entering the courthouse. “To Katy Perry, please stop,” she said. “It’s not doing anyone any good except hurting a lot of people.” Sister Holzman then proceeded into the building, where she later collapsed in court and died.