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Owens Center for Fine and Performing Arts Helen Prejean, Jan. 25

 

Internationally acclaimed Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, will make an appearance in Northwest Ohio to discuss her experiences as an activist related to the death penalty process as Owens Community Colleges Center for Fine and Performing Arts presents Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.

 

Prejeans lecture presentation will take place in the Colleges Mainstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The Owens Toledo-area Campus is located on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township.

 

Owens Community College is honored welcome internationally known Sister Helen Prejean to Northwest Ohio for a very unique and insightful presentation titled Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues, said Barbara Barkan, Owens Director for the Center for Fine and Performing Arts. For nearly three decades, Prejean has been educating the public about the death penalty. Her efforts certainly have not gone unnoticed as she has sparked national dialogue about capital punishment in our country.

 

A Roman Catholic nun, Prejean joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille (now known as the Congregation of St. Joseph) in 1957 and received a bachelors degree in English and education from St. Marys Dominican College New Orleans in 1962.

 

 In 1973, she earned a masters degree in religious education from Saint Paul University. Prejean has served as the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, the Formation Director for her religious community and has taught junior and senior high school students.

 

Prejean began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to help those who are disadvantaged in New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, a convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisianas Angola State Prison.

 

Upon Sonniers request, Prejean repeatedly visited him as his spiritual advisor. In doing so, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process. Prejean turned her experiences into a book that not only made the 1994 American Library Associates Notable Book List, but also was nominated for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States earned the distinction of being ranked No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller List for 31 weeks. The book also has become an international best seller and has been translated into 10 different languages.

 

In January 1996, Prejeans literary work was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Helen Prejean and Sean Penn as Patrick Sonnier. Produced by Polygram Pictures, the film was directed and written by Tim Robbins. The movie received many accolades including Oscar recognition and was the basis of an opera.

 

Prejean has provided her advocacy message to community groups around the globe. She has appeared on many notable television radio shows highlighted by 60 Minutes, NBCs Today, BBC World Service and NPR Weekend Saturday, among many others. She has also served as an active member of several prominent organizations, including the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Amnesty International and Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation. Additionally, Prejean is the founder of Survive, a victims advocacy group in New Orleans, and continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but also the families of murder victims.

 

Tickets for the lecture presentation are $20 and all seats are reserved. To purchase tickets, visit www.owens.edu or contact the Colleges Box Office. For more information about this event, contact the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at (567) 661-2787 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 2787.

 

 
 

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