• 29 Oct 20

Oct 29 - “Sr. Helen Prejean” © artwork by Julie Lonneman.

Sister Helen Prejean, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, is best known for her prison ministry which began in 1981. While living in the St. Thomas housing project in New Orleans, she started a correspondence with Patrick Sonnier, a convicted killer who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison.

Sonnier asked Sister Helen to be his spiritual advisor. From her interactions with Sonnier as well as with the families of his victims, Sister Helen learned much about the death penalty. She wrote her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking, based on these experiences.

Today Sister Helen educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. She continues to counsel families of murder victims as well as inmates on death row. In 2004, she published The Death of Innocents in which she makes the case that flaws in the death penalty system inevitably lead to the execution of innocent people.