Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ - Guest Speaker
Martin Institute Auditorium
The Saint Andre Lecture Series Presents Author and Activist, Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J.
Sister Helen is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. She spent her first years with the Sisters teaching religion to junior high school students. Realizing that being on the side of poor people is an essential part of the Gospel, she moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and worked at Hope House from 1984 – 1986.
During this time, she was asked to correspond with a death row inmate, Patrick Sonnier, at Angola. She agreed and became his spiritual adviser. After witnessing his execution, she wrote a book about the experience. The result was "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States." The book became a movie, an opera and a play for high schools and colleges.
Since 1984, Sister Helen has divided her time between educating citizens about the death penalty and counseling individual death row prisoners. She has accompanied six men to their deaths. In doing so, she began to suspect that some of those executed were not guilty. This realization inspired her second book, "The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions," which was released by Random House in December of 2004.
She is presently at work on another book, "River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey."