Weather Updates

Death-penalty foe donating papers to DePaul

Sister Helen Prejean, the well-known death penalty foe, is donating her personal papers to DePaul University.

The nun’s 1993 account of her spiritual relationship with a Louisiana Death Row inmate was a best-selling book and the basis of the movie “Dead Man Walking,” in which she was played by Susan Sarandon.

Prejean said she chose DePaul after enjoying “a birthday meal of crawfish and beer” in New Orleans with the dean of DePaul’s School for New Learning, Dr. Susanne Dumbleton, a couple of years ago.

When Dumbleton asked where Prejean kept her archives, Prejean confessed, “in some cardboard boxes in my office.”

Concerned that the papers could have been lost during Hurricane Katrina, Dumbleton offered to archive them at DePaul. Prejean added, “I also like how the school teaches social justice and that students will have access to the materials.”

DePaul holds the papers of priest and peace activist Daniel Berrigan, who Prejean said was a hero to her.

The papers being donated comprise nearly 30 years of materials, including Prejean’s journals, manuscripts, correspondences, speeches and awards, as well as items from the movie.

Kim Janssen

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.