Monday, February 11, 2013

Sr. Helen Prejean to Speak at Rosemont College, near Philly, PA

Sr Helen Prejean, the rock star of the death penalty abolition
movement, will be speaking at Rosemont College next Monday, February
18, 2013. If you have never heard her speak before, I promise you, you
will never forget seeing her. The event is free and open to the public
but you are asked to register before hand. I hope to see some of you



Here's the link to register:

Here's the college's press release:

<<Sister Helen Prejean, author of the bestselling Dead Man Walking: An
Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, will
speak at 7 p.m. Monday, February 18 in McShain Performing Arts Center
at Rosemont College. The lecture is free and open to all. The event is
sponsored by the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Social
Responsibility at Rosemont College.

Sister Prejean will present “Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues.”
She has become a leading American advocate for the abolition of the
death penalty and will speak about how she educates citizens about
capital punishment. Sister Prejean’s books will be available for
purchase and she will participate in a book signing after the event.

Prejean is a nationally recognized human rights activist and has been
the subject of many interviews on national broadcasts, including 60
Minutes, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s World News Tonight, Larry King Live
(radio), and National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Fresh Air.
She has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and Good
Housekeeping magazines and several other print media. Dead Man Walking
was number one on the New York Times Best Seller List for thirty-one
weeks. It also was an international best-seller and has been
translated into ten different languages.

Born in 1939 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Prejean joined the Sisters of
St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957 (now known as the Congregation of St.
Joseph) and received a bachelor’s degree in English and education from
St. Mary’s Dominican College, New Orleans in 1962. In 1973, she earned
a master’s degree in religious education from St. Paul’s University in
Ottawa, Canada. She has been the religious education director at St.
Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, the formation director for her
religious community, and has taught junior and senior high school
students. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate from the
University of Portland.

She began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to
the poor of New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing
project, she became a pen pal with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted
killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of
Louisiana’s Angola State Prison.

Upon Sonnier’s request, Prejean repeatedly visited him as his
spiritual advisor. In doing so, she became familiar with the Louisiana
execution process. Prejean turned her experiences into Dead Man
Walking, an autobiographical account of her relationship with Sonnier
and other inmates on death row. The book not only made the 1994
American Library Associates Notable Book List, it was also nominated
for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize.

In January 1996, the book was developed into a major motion picture
starring Susan Sarandon as Prejean and Sean Penn as a death row
inmate. The movie received four Oscar nominations including Tim
Robbins for best director, Sean Penn for best actor, Susan Sarandon
for best actress, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walking” for best
song. Susan Sarandon won the award for best actress.

Fifteen years after beginning her crusade, the Roman Catholic sister
has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and today educates the
public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing, and writing.
As the founder of Survive, a victim's advocacy group in New Orleans,
she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the
families of murder victims as well.

Sister Prejean’s second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness
Account of Wrongful Executions, was published in December 2004. In it,
she tells the story of two men, Dobie Gillis Williams and Joseph
O’Dell, whom she accompanied to their executions. In The Death of
Innocents she takes the reader through all the evidence, including
evidence the juries never heard either due to the incompetence of the
defense lawyers or the rigid formalities of court procedure. She
believes both of them were innocent.>>

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