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Diocese Says Nuns Sold Convent and Bought Cars, Racehorses

From United Press International

Twin tales of mercenary nuns, involving racehorses, luxury cars and pink bathrooms, were described Thursday by a Roman Catholic Church spokesman as “something right out of ‘Dallas’ or ‘Dynasty.’ ”

The Bruges Diocese was rocked this month by two bizarre episodes: The conversion of a convent into a luxury hotel by a defrocked nun and the sale of another convent by eight nuns who fled in a limousine to the south of France.

“It’s like a TV show,” said a diocese spokesman, “something right out of ‘Dallas’ or ‘Dynasty.’ ”

One episode involves eight members of the Order of the Poor Clares, aged 62 to 93, who sold their convent in Bruges--without the Pope’s permission--for $1.4 million.

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They promptly bought a castle in the French Pyrenees, a farm, 11 racehorses and six luxury cars.

Authorities this week charged a former financial adviser to the nuns, Ronny Crab, 35, with swindling the sisters through abuse of trust to gain control of their financial affairs.

Meanwhile, about 20 miles from Bruges, a former nun is converting part of the Arme Klaren convent in Nieuwpoort into a hotel, complete with pink bathrooms.

Maria Logghe, 49, was dismissed by the bishop two years ago for a lifestyle “not in accordance with the church,” including fancy clothes and a penchant for smoking cigars and driving fast cars.

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