In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean began a correspondence with 2 death row inmates in her home state of Louisiana. She eventually became the spiritual adviser to Patrick Sonnier and accompanied him to his execution in 1984. Prejean chronicled her experiences in Dead Man Walking, the best-selling book which has been adapted to a film (for which Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for her portrayal of Prejean), play, and opera.
It’s been 30 years since Sonnier was executed, and Prejean is now well known as one of the leading advocates for ending the death penalty. For a recent interview with her, please go to US Catholic.org