One of the nuns embroiled in a fierce lawsuit with pop star Katy Perry has revealed that sky-high legal fees have plunged her into financial dire straits. The group of nuns, who are members of the order of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, filed a lawsuit against Perry after she cut a deal with the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to purchase their former convent without running it by the sisters. The nuns claim that the expansive property has been owned by the order for 45 years insist that it is their right to sell it and nobody else’s.
Sister Rita Callanan, now 80-years-old, said that just a few years ago she was well-off and looking forward to some peaceful final years. Now, she is broke, weary and uncertain about the future. Her fellow companion in the bitter legal case, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, tragically passed away after collapsing at a court appearance March 9. With nothing but steely determination, Callanan has vowed to fight on.
“On March 9th, 2018 we tragically lost Sister Catherine Rose, my beloved fellow IHM Sister and original organizer of this GoFundMe campaign. She was my cherished partner in this ongoing legal battle to keep our convent,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I am very sad to say it is we who are in terrible need.”
“It is now more important than ever to continue this fight and for our cause to prevail,” Callanan added.
To make matters worse, Sister Callanan is suffering from cancer and diabetes, while the Daily Mail reported that multi-millionaire artist Perry told the nuns that she wants the gorgeous 22,000 sq ft Mediterranean-inspired property so she can “sip green tea and find herself.”
“All we are asking is to sell our own property, keep our own money so we can take care of ourselves until the last person dies, then the money and property can go to the archbishop,” Callanan said. “There’s not many more years, give me a break. He’s supposed to be a chief shepherd,” she added, referring to Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez.
The nuns have also expressed unease about the legacy of their convent should it fall into the hands of Perry. “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,” said the late Sister Catherine Rose Holzman in a letter to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in May, as reported by the New York Times in 2015. “In selling to Katy Perry, we feel we are being forced to violate our canonical vows to the Catholic Church.”
“Katy Perry, please stop,” Sister Catherine told Fox 7 just hours before her death. “It’s not doing anyone any good [and it’s] hurting a lot of people.”
“You have stolen the property of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. Please archbishop… Do what is right in your heart,” Callahan added. Now, the nuns plan to appeal for a direct intervention from Pope Francis. “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,” Callanan explained.
With legal bills mounting, Callanan told the Daily Mail that the small stipend she receives from the Archdiocese is barely enough to live on.
“The archdiocese pays my rent and bills where I am – £358 for rent and £179 for a housekeeper – but the rest comes out of my stipend, which they’ve reduced by £538 a month,’ she explained. “My health insurance has only been partly paid recently – I got cancellation notice from health insurance, as they didn’t pay the bill, so I had to borrow money from a friend as I didn’t want it canceled. I was two months in arrears. They better pay it back to me.”
The sister insisted that the Archbishop is failing to take care of his flock.
“He is claiming he’s taking care of us, that’s not true,” she said. “We send bills up there and they don’t get paid. I get my stipend, but it’s not leaving me enough for living expenses.”
“I pay automobile costs, supermarket fees, magazine subscriptions, and also running a house isn’t cheap. I’ve got family members who are very sick, close family members have died including my own sister, there’s so many things, it’s just punishment.”
Callanan said that the Vatican is “well aware” of what is going on with the sisters, but has yet to intervene.
“I ask God: ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Course it makes you question your faith,” she admitted. “But I’ve got to believe. I have to say: ‘Lord increase my faith.'”
Many have expressed their outrage at the situation on the sister’s GoFundMe page.
“To think Kate Perry used to be a Christian music singer. I am ashamed of her. Praying for the sisters,” one person wrote. “I’m praying for you sister. This is heartbreaking to think What this Holy ground could become. Prayers that no matter who or what becomes of this property that God uses this for his glory. Thank you for your service to our Church,” another added.
“Sister’s death has taken a toll on me. It really has,” Callanan told the Daily Beast. “But I’m not going to give up.”