On Sunday, columnist Steve Lopez penned a line he said he never thought he’d have the pleasure of writing:
“Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez is sparring with elderly Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over the pending sale of the nuns' former convent in Los Feliz to international superstar singer Katy Perry. I swear on a Bible.”
In a week dominated by major legal decisions out of Washington, a dozen or so readers turned their attention to an ongoing local dispute, which dates back decades and features some colorful players.
--Sara Lessley, Letters to the Editor department
Chris Fuentes in Hollywood sends fond remembrances:
If there was a nun who could fly, trust me, it’d be Sister Rita Callanan. Sister Rita was my school principal back in the early ’70s; she was the cool, “progressive” nun with new ideas. The old-school types were shocked by her modern attitude, habit and child-centered policies, since this was years before kids had any rights or consideration.
I adored Sister Rita and I know she worked her heart out for children, her order and her faith. I think it is a shame, but no surprise, that the “big boys” in the archdiocese are trying to rip off the Immaculate Heart Sisters.
I also know Dana Hollister; she is a very reputable businesswoman who has lovingly maintained and beautifully transformed properties.
I love Katy Perry's music and I am sure she'd be a great neighbor, but I think the diocese should honor Sister Rita's preference.
Joan Davidson in Palos Verdes Estates admires the drama:
You can't make this stuff up. Why doesn't the diocese let the nuns live there? Or maybe let a new owner take this as a big tax write off. There has to be a billionaire somewhere in L.A. willing to make this a charitable cause.
Lenore Navarro Dowling in Los Angeles offers a personal note:
Sadly, this is another example of a power struggle, where the archdiocese apparently has sufficient funds for costly litigation to challenge the sisters' claim to their rights.
When a number of us, former Sisters of the Immaculate Heart, decided in 1970 to follow the challenge of the Vatican Council II to make changes to our structure, we established Immaculate Heart Community, which had no ties to the local bishop nor to Rome. As we celebrate our 45th anniversary, we commiserate with our sisters who continue to face hierarchical power and control over their lives.
And Barbara Sabo in Hermosa Beach has words of praise:
Anyone who has attended a performance of “Late Night Catechism” well knows the plight of Roman Catholic nuns — they are left to fend for themselves in their retirement years.
It seems to me that if the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary had the foresight to purchase their convent when they could afford to do so — with an toward their retirement years — they are the true and rightful owners.
After all, it was the men of Rome who decided that they should make their own way — and these bright women did.