Photo of Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean

No Rest For Sister Helen

The nationally recognized activist nun speaks to the UO May 11 from Oklahoma 

The work never ends for Sister Helen Prejean.

Criss-crossing the country to advocate for the poor and disenfranchised for more than 40 years, Prejean has been nationally known for her efforts to abolish the death penalty since the 1993 publication of Dead Man Walking: The eyewitness account of the death penalty that sparked a national debate, which later became an Oscar-winning movie.

She was scheduled to speak in person at the University of Oregon May 11, to share her insights as a voice for people on death row, their families and the families of the victims. Duty called again, though, so Prejean is in Oklahoma on behalf of death row inmate Richard Glossip, who was convicted in 1998 for commissioning a murder the previous year and is scheduled to be executed May 18.     

Still, Prejean will speak via Zoom on May 11 at the invitation of the UO Prison Education Program, which was founded in 2016 and offers credit and not-for-credit opportunities to advance educational opportunities for people who are incarcerated statewide.  

The message of love and reconciliation that Prejean has lived and preached throughout the years is anchored, in part, by one moral certainty, as she noted in Dead Man Walking: “If I were to be murdered, I would not want my murderer executed. I would not want my death avenged. Especially by the government — which can’t be trusted to control its own bureaucrats or collect taxes equitably or fill a pothole, much less decide which of its citizens to kill.”

The University of Oregon’s Prison Education Program hosts Sister Helen Prejean from Oklahoma via Zoom 7 pm Thursday, May 11. You can see her at Lillis Business Complex, room 282, at the UO, or via Zoom at FREE.