Her household was all the time supportive, although usually her work and her eventual celeb made for problems. There was the time her brother, Louis Prejean Jr., befriended Antonin Scalia, the late conservative Supreme Court Justice, at a marriage, and commenced to take him duck looking. When the film “Dead Man Walking” was about to return out, Mr. Prejean proudly informed the justice that his sister was going to be performed by Ms. Sarandon.
As Sister Helen remembered, “Scalia says to him, ‘Just what we need. Another liberal book being made into a liberal movie.’ And Louie says, ‘Sis, I don’t think he’s too excited about your movie so I’m not going to bring it up anymore.’”
Justice Scalia was an ardent supporter of the dying penalty, a place that also confounds Sister Helen. “Human beings’ ability to compartmentalize is truly an amazing thing,” she mentioned. “The way Scalia said, ‘As a justice, I must leave my Catholic faith at the door and follow the Constitution,’ as if the moral imperative to be compassionate and forgive doesn’t give you a perspective when you look at equal justice under the law.”
“Thomas Merton,” she added, “said the end of the world will be legal.”
Sister Helen has witnessed six executions since she watched Mr. Sonnier die in 1984. The second to final dying was Dobie Gillis Williams, an African-American man with an IQ of 65, charged within the horrific homicide of a Louisiana girl. “With an all-white jury,” she mentioned, “he didn’t have a chance.”
That was in 1999. Since then, she has been visiting Manuel Ortiz, who can be on dying row in Angola, convicted of the murder-for-hire of his ex-wife for her insurance coverage. Sister Helen and others imagine that he’s harmless. The drive from New Orleans to Angola is 2 and a half hours, and Sister Helen has completed it so usually, she mentioned, “my body knows the way.”
Ms. Sarandon has additionally made the journey greater than as soon as, most lately to go to Mr. Ortiz with Sister Helen in late February. Theirs has been a protracted friendship and collaboration; at one level, the nun had her personal bed room in Ms. Sarandon’s New York house.