Sister Helen Prejean, a leading national voice for abolishing capital punishment, announced Feb. 9 that she is donating her personal archives to DePaul University. Her archives include personal journals, notes from meetings, letters, speeches and other artifacts spanning a period of 30 years. The papers include her personal correspondence and manuscripts for her books “The Death of Innocents” and “Dead Man Walking”— the latter a best-selling account of Prejean’s spiritual relationship with a Louisiana death-row inmate that was the basis of an Oscar-winning 1996 film.
She said DePaul’s Special Archives and Collections will be a great fit for her papers. Prejean, 71, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, said nuns owe St. Vincent de Paul, the university’s patron and the apostle of charity, a debt of gratitude. “St. Vincent de Paul found a way to get the nuns out of the convent and into the streets to serve the poor. He did that in 1610 and paved the way for other religious orders.”