Nuns Are Tough!

Monica Almeida NY Times
Monica Almeida NY Times

As our world continues its conversion from God to Celebrity Worship, the nun business isn’t what it used to be.  Contemporary nuns face a couple of serious problems.  First, they are women who keep their clothes on, a group that our society has undervalued for a couple of decades now.  Second, they’re Christians, which leaves them open to relentless, in-your-face ridicule for everything from their habits to their beliefs.  You wanna be a nun these days, sister, you better be tough.

Oddly enough, even as we speak, an epic battle, going on in the San Gabriel Mountains of California, illustrates my point perfectly.  It has become a massive, tangled legal fight which needs more than one google to understand — but here’s the quick and dirty version.

A couple of years ago, the Catholic Church in California decided to sell one of its convents.  They were approached by a Katherine Hudson who offered them $14.5 million for it.  It turns out  Katherine Hudson is actually Katy Perry, and Ms. Perry thought a convent (coincidentally, with a spectacular view of Hollywood and the San Gabriel Mountains) would be a totally cool place to live and “find herself.” (It seems Ms. Perry is quite spiritual: she has “Jesus” tattooed on her wrist.)  Unfortunately, a couple of the Holy Sisters from the convent caught Ms. Perry’s act on YouTube, and being very old nuns, were shocked, somewhat amazed and just about as upset as any nun can get.  They cancelled the sale.  Instead, they decided to sell their convent to Ms. Dana Hollister, a restaurateur.

Here’s where it gets hazy.

Apparently, undaunted by a couple of antique nuns, Ms. Perry and her legal people went back to the Archdiocese and politely asked “WTF?”  (FYI, Katy Perry isn’t afraid of anything: she was once married to Russell Brand.)  At this point, the Catholic big boys — particularly His Grace Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles — tried to talk some sense into the two little old ladies.  According to him, nuns have no right to sell anything.  In fact, it doesn’t even matter that the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary owned the property in the first place because, ultimately, it belongs to the Catholic Church (i.e. the Pope.)  Therefore, it will be he, His Grace Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, as The Pope’s representative, who will decide what’s in everybody’s best interests, thank you very much.  Normally, that would have been an end to it, but Sisters Katherine Rose and Rita (86 and 77, respectively) didn’t back down.  They don’t want anybody’s “teenage dream in skinny jeans” strutting around their convent as if she owned the place.  They told His Grace Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, in no uncertain terms, that he can yip all he wants about The Pope because — come prayer time — they would be talking to his boss.

The archdiocese, caught between a rock and (what the nuns were calling) a hot place, lawyered up.  They’re now suing Dana Hollister on the grounds that she can’t legally buy anything from nuns — although Katherine Hudson (aka Katy Perry) can buy whatever she wants from pumped-up priests.

The story’s not over, but personally, I think for $14.5 million, Katy Perry can find some other place to “find herself.” After all, she made that money telling women to follow their hearts and do what they believe in — no matter what.

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