In a surprise development, it appears that the three Sisters of Bethany nuns of Santa Barbara will be allowed to live here and continue their work. Their banishment has been lifted, supporters say, and a letter of confirmation from the Catholic order is due this week.
But as things now stand, they must leave the convent the small Catholic order has occupied for a half-century on Nopal Street next to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church by December 31. The Los Angeles Archdiocese says the convent must be sold to help pay the multi-million-dollar settlement of claims by abuse victims of priests.
A committee led by Anthony Dal Bello is seeking donations to find a new residence for the nuns and office space to continue their work here.
After parishioners protested the eviction on such short notice, the Central American-based superior general of the Sisters of Bethany placed a gag order on the nuns and ordered that they not relocate anywhere within the city of Santa Barbara, according to supporters. But now, following letters from Mayor Marty Blum and others to the superior general, a new letter is expected this week lifting the ban and allowing them to find new lodging here.