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"In Deeds & Words: The Prejean Ministry Against the Death Penalty," Library Exhibit Opening And Reception with Sr. Helen Prejean

by Helen Fedchak 4/30/2012 3:50:00 PM

Sr. Helen Prejean with Robert Lee Willie at his Pardon Board hearing, November 1984.  Willie was killed in the electric chair on December 28, 1984DePaul University Special Collections and Archives will open a new exhibit on May 14th, drawn from the personal papers of Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ. In Deeds and Words: the Prejean Ministry Against the Death Penalty reveals notable moments in Sr. Helen's 30 years of advocacy on behalf of death row inmates and her activism to abolish the death penalty. The exhibit highlights her relationships and correspondence with individuals on death row as well as the process of writing her bestselling books Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents, and the adaptation of Dead Man Walking for the 1995 film starring Susan Sarandon.

Prejean donated her papers to DePaul in December 2010, following conversations begun by the School for New Learning's Susanne Dumbleton. Dumbleton interviewed Sr. Helen in 2009 for a book about women leaders in social justice movements, and raised the issue then of a possible donation. Sr. Helen's previous connections to the university include an honorary degree, and work with the Center for Justice in Capital Cases (CJCC), headed by the College of Law's Andrea Lyon, one of the nation's leading death penalty attorneys.

The opening of the exhibit coincides with the opening of Sr. Helen's papers for researchers and class use. The collection has enormous depth, not only for the issue of the death penalty, but also in the development of Sr. Helen's activism, the process of writing and publishing a book, and the overlapping social justice issues which examination of the death penalty unmasks. The exhibit opening will include a reception with Sr. Helen from 3-5pm on Monday, May 14th, which faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend.

The exhibit will be on display in Special Collections and Archives, Room 314 of the Richardson Library, from May 14th to November 30, 2012.

For more information about the Prejean Papers: Email us or stop by Richardson 314. The full finding aid for the collection is available on the Library website:

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5/23/2012 6:43:52 PM

Prejean's account of the double murders are refuted in the book "Dead FAMILY Walking: the true story of a double murder, a book, a movie and A NUN THAT DESTROYED THE LIVES OF AN AMERICAN [CATHOLIC] FAMILY" By D.D. de VINCI. The Bourque family says "Dead Man Walking" has lies and omissions.

DePaul is continuing the trend of placing all faith in a celebrity nun before learning the full story.

Mrs. Rhea

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