Loyola at a Glance
'Dead Man Walking' author to speak on death penalty
January 18, 2013
Academy Award-winner Susan Sarandon may have played her in the 1995 movie “Dead Man Walking,” but New Orleans audiences will get the chance to see the real Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., H ’05, at Loyola University New Orleans Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located on the second floor of the Communications/Music Complex. The author and activist will speak about her life’s passion: abolishing the death penalty.
The event, “The Spark: Christians as Catalysts Against the Death Penalty,” is sponsored by St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Trinity Episcopal Church and Loyola’s Jesuit Social Research Institute. The event is free and open to the public. There will be an opportunity to purchase Prejean’s books, and the event will feature a book signing afterward.
“While I’ve been traveling the country I’ve been sensing the changing shifts in the Catholic community, a tide rising against the death penalty,” Prejean wrote in her latest blog entry. “… the once-strong fervor for the death penalty is on the wane. Still, there’s much work to be done to make this the tipping point.”
Prejean began her prison ministry in the 1980s when she became pen pals with death row inmate and convicted killer Patrick Sonnier. When Prejean became his spiritual adviser, she witnessed the execution process firsthand and wrote about her experiences in the forerunner to the movie, the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.”
Today, Prejean lectures nationally and internationally, working to educate the public about the death penalty. She continues to counsel death row inmates and also founded Survive, a New Orleans-based advocacy group dedicated to helping the families of murder victims.
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