Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, IHM, one of the five remaining members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, died suddenly on March 9 at the age of 89.
Sister Catherine Rose had recently been involved in litigation surrounding the community’s Los Feliz property, which has been vacant since 2011 because it became too costly for the retired sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs.
“Sister Catherine Rose served the Church with dedication and love for many years and today we remember her life with gratitude,” said Archbishop José Gomez in a statement on her passing. “We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones.”
Sister Catherine Rose and another sister were the only members of the order that had opposed plans to sell the religious order’s vacant property on Waverly Drive to singer Katy Perry for more than $14 million. The sale included the condition that Perry would also find a suitable replacement for the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for Priests, which was also part of the property.
Real estate developer Dana Hollister entered into a separate deal with the two sisters without the necessary requirements for approval by the Archdiocese. The Hollister deal allowed Hollister to take possession of the property for only $44,000 and a promissory note without any guarantee that the sisters would receive any additional payment.
Multiple court rulings found the Hollister deal invalid. In December 2017, an LA judge ordered her to pay back millions in legal fees to Perry, the IHM Institute and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles—to whom the Vatican had entrusted oversight of the order’s business affairs in 2005.
“The Archdiocese was forced to take legal action against Dana Hollister to protect the sisters from what the courts found to be a ‘bad deal,’” explained Archdiocesan spokeswoman Adrian Marquez Alarcon. “Regardless of any sale the Archdiocese has pledged to take care of all the IHM Sister for the rest of their lives.”
Sister Catherine Rose Holzman died while accompanying Dana Hollister to Hollister’s bankruptcy hearing. Hollister had filed bankruptcy on March 6, 2018 after the Superior Court of California had found Hollister acted with oppression, fraud and/or malice, and the jury awarded a total of approximately $15 million in additional damages to be paid by Hollister to the IHM Institute, the Archdiocese and to Perry’s Company, The Bird Nest, LLC. Hollister still has not returned ownership of the property to the IHM Institute. Public records show that the title remains under her name.
Related reading: Court rules against real estate mogul who pressured nuns with ‘bad deal’ | Statement from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on verdict in trial for damages against developer Dana Hollister