Sister Helen

Monday, March 5, 2018

Helen Prejean: Death Row's Nun,” the only biography about the life and social justice mission of Sr Helen Prejean.

No person has worked more effectively toward the abolition of the death penalty in the US than Sr Helen. Her best-selling book “Dead Man Walking” and the hit Hollywood film adaptation in which she was played by Susan Sarandon, was a catalyst for drawing national attention to the issue. In the years since then, her continuing and often controversial work with death-row inmates has kept the issue near the forefront of national debate. She has confronted lawyers and judges, politicians and the media, to expose the indignity and injustice of the death penalty and inhumane prison conditions.

This biography, published by Liturgical Press, discusses Sr Helen's life, faith and mission of fighting the death penalty and wrongful convictions.

Orbis Books Publisher Robert Ellsberg said of this book: “[It] tells the fascinating story that led up to Sr Helen’s book, and of her ongoing campaign, through tireless speaking and writing, to abolish the death penalty. Among the surprising stories is the account of her meetings with Pope John Paul II, and her influence in steering Catholic teaching toward an explicit rejection of capital punishment — a position explicitly embraced by Pope Francis and by the US Catholic bishops.”.

Fr Thomas Rosica, English-speaking liaison to the Vatican Press Office, said: “When I finished reading the book, I gave thanks to God once again for Sr Helen Prejean, one of the most remarkable, prophetic women of our times. Her boldness and courage have taken millions of people on a daunting journey to overcome hatred with love, to meet evil with goodness, to forgive rather than avenge ourselves on those who harm us, and to never let ourselves be overcome by hatred.”.

Sr Helen Prejean – a founder patron of Amicus – has been instrumental in sparking international dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions.  She travels around the world giving talks about her ministry.  She considers herself a southern storyteller. Since 1984, Sr Helen has divided her time between educating citizens about the death penalty and counselling 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 realisation inspired her second book, “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions”.  Sr Prejean is presently at work on another book: “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey”.

Sister Helen's biography is available in the UK at:

and in the US at: