On Thursday, January 16 Sister Helen Prejean, famous for her ministry
which works for the abolition of capital punishment, gave her much
anticipated address to the Cathedral Ministry Conference hosted by
Milwaukee's Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist. This event was
publicized in this blog last week. She talked about her life and the
factors in her becoming an opponent of the death penalty.
For those of you, my loyal readers, who would like to learn more about this
remarkable woman, Sister Helen gave me this information to pass along:
To order her books about her ministry work, "Dead Man Walking"
and "The Death of Innocents", please e-mail Sr. Helen:
firstname.lastname@example.org to order by credit or debit card,
or send a check to her thus:
Sister Helen Prejean
3009 Grand Rt., St. John #5, New Orleans, LA 70119.
Each book costs $15, but you can order BOTH for $25 plus
$2.00 shipping, a splendid bargain! The proceeds will fund
I had a great time at her presentation and enjoyed meeting this
dynamic, charming, and irrepressibly witty and optimistic lady!
"Dead Man Walking" is Sr. Helen's first book; you may know it
via the movie made of it, also with the same title. "The Death of
Innocents" is her latest offering, in which she relates the stories
of wrongfully convicted and executed murder suspects. These
prisoners were wrongfully killed for a variety of reasons:
questionable evidence, false testimonies of "witnesses" presented
by prosecutors, politicians' pandering for votes at election time
by seeming to be "tough on crime", and even the defendants having
the misfortune to be of "the wrong skin color". Both books have
gut-wrenching stories that will make supporters of the death penalty
think twice about their favoring it, and will give renewed vigor to those
who oppose the death penalty. And if you learn of Sr. Helen coming to
your city or town to give a presentation on her ministry I highly recom-
mend that you go see her, regardless of your opinion on capital punish-
ment! Keep in mind that she also ministers to the families and friends
of murder victims, who often feel that no one is there to hear their cries
of grief and anguish, that no one seems to care about their feelings and
their loss. Sister Helen will also tell you about relatives and friends of
murdered people who say that killing their loved ones' killers will not
fill the emptiness inside of them, nor quell their pain. Sr. Helen recog-
nizes and ministers to all of the afflicted in capital crime situations; she
has no political axe to grind, she has no agenda other than ending capital
punishment and ensuring justice for all involved; death row inmates and
grieving families and friends, those employed by the prison systems in
capital punishment practicing states, and the concerned citizens who,
having been impacted albeit indirectly, follow it all.
For further information on the campaign to abolish capital punishment,
also visit the website of Death Penalty Focus, a group based in California
which Sister Helen has worked with on many an occaision. They have a
wonderful site packed with information on how to work for abolition of
killing as a state-sanctioned punishment for deadly criminals, including
a compelling "Top Ten List" of reasons to oppose the death penalty. The
list makes some points which will not merely surprise but astound you!
I know, as I have read this list myself! I visit their web site regularly.
Visit DPF at: http://www.deathpenaltyfocus.org/ .
Over time I will occaisionally post stories and commentary on this topic
I want for our country to be ever vigilant in deterring crime and bringing
all criminals to justice, but we as a nation can be bulldog-tough on crime,
especially violent crime, without our government sanctioning as
punishment for what it, and we, prohibit as behavior. Sister Helen
can show us how.