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'Dead Man Walking' author to speak on death penalty

Loyola press release - January 14, 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 Loyola’s Jesuit Social Research Institute, St. Gabriel Catholic Church and Trinity Episcopal Church. 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 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.

Contact Mikel Pak, associate director of public affairs, at 504-861-5448 for more information.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.