In Sister Helen’s speech she describes how the Gospel of Jesus called her to be with poor people, so she did just that and started learning from African Americans. While doing this she was asked if she would be willing to write letters to a man on death row. She agreed, but was nervous about it since she was uneducated about current justice system laws. After writing letters to this man for a short period of time, she went to visit him. The mans name was Pat Sonye and his brothers name was Eddie. The two brothers had went to a field in Louisiana and encountered a young couple. They convince the couple that they were security guards, and forced the women to have sex with them in order for them to not turn them into the land owner. This was all a trick, and after the men were done raping the girl, they shot and killed the couple execution style. After learning this Sister Helen was in shock that these were the two men she had talked with and met. Sister Helen then met the family of the victims. The father of the boy was upset that Sister Helen had not come to see them, and took her through his journey. By doing this he taught he that forgiveness is saving your own life by not letting hatred overcome you.
This is the story Sister Helen describes in her book, “Dead Man Walking”.
In the end, Sister Helen was there for Pats execution. Just before she had told him to look at her, and that she would be the face of Christ.
Sister Helen is still working diligently to end the Death Penalty in all states.
Some fun facts that she gave during here speech were:
- A man on death row had a heart attack a few days before they date of his execution, the hospitalized him until he was healthy, and then killed him themselves.
- There has been a couple other instances that were similar to that.
- States that practiced slavery have the harshest penal system.
- Texas has executions every week
- It is more expensive to execute them, than to keep them in prison for the rest of their lives.