SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—The head nun of the Sisters of Bethany said she had considered selling the convent even before the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced that the structure would be sold to help pay for the multimillion-dollar priest sex abuse settlement.
Sister Angela Escalera said last week that she and two other nuns were stunned when they received a letter from the archdiocese telling them they had until Dec. 31 to move out. The convent would be sold to help pay for the $660 million settlement between the archdiocese and clergy sex abuse victims, the letter said.
The convent, which sits on a quarterof an acre, is valued at $97,746, though the county assessor's office said it will likely sell for more.
Escalera, the order's local superior, said she was hurt to learn of the sale in a letter from the archdiocese's vicar general. She said she was also hurt that she had to sacrifice her home to help pay for the sins of pedophile priests. The letter offered no recourse for the nuns.
But the order's general superior indicated in a letter Thursday that there been a plan to sell the convent for years. Mother Luz Elena Ordonez Quezada wrote that she had intended to move the nuns after Escalera, 69, had retired two or three years ago.
"Our plan was to expand the property we own in Oxnard so they can live there, especially since Sister Angela needs lots of care and attention due to her limited condition," Quezadawrote from Guatemala.
She said an alternate plan called for moving the nuns to the order's other convent in Los Angeles.