SANTA BARBARA -- For 43 years, Sister Angela Escalera has lived and often worked out of her order's small convent on this city's east side, helping the area's many poor and undocumented residents with translation, counseling and other needs.
Now retired and partly disabled at 69, the nun thought she would live out her days here, in the community where she is still an active volunteer and in the dwelling that was built for the order in 1952.
But she and the other two nuns at the Sisters of Bethany house recently received word that their convent, which is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be sold to help pay the bill for the church's recent, multimillion-dollar priest sex abuse settlement.
The nuns have four months to move out, according to a letter from the archdiocese. The notice, which was dated June 28 but not received until the end of August, asked the women to vacate the property no later than Dec. 31 -- and noted that an earlier departure "would be acceptable as well." Signed by Msgr. Royale M. Vadakin, the archdiocese's vicar general, the letter offers the nuns no recourse but thanks them for their understanding and cooperation during a difficult time.
"We're just so hurt by this," Escalera, the order's local superior, said this week. "And what hurts the most is what the money will be used for, to help pay for the pedophile priests. We have to sacrifice our home for that?"
Friday, September 7, 2007
Nuns on the run (sort of)
Sister Angela Escalera didn't molest Catholic youths, but the sins of the fathers -- and the $660 million settlement the Archdiocese of Los Angeles made with more than 500 people who claimed they were sexually abused by Catholic priests -- is forcing out Escalera and the other nuns of Sisters of Bethany house in Santa Barbara. From the LA Times: