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Congregation collaborates with others to create ‘Death Row Visitation Project’

During the federal government’s execution spree in 2020, Sisters of Providence Justice Promoter Sister Barbara Battista and the legal teams of those executed and the more than 40 people remaining on death row recognized a need and resolved to address it.

“We saw that we were witnessing the executions and were reaching out to abolish the death penalty, but the residents on death row are rarely visited,” Sister Barbara said. “Some of them go years without a family visit and we wanted to do something to support them and their families.”

Sister Mary Montgomery holds her sign aloft during a demonstration against the death penalty.

Through this collaboration, the “Death Row Visitation Project” was born. The project is an opportunity for family members and friends of the people on death row to receive funding, through generous donations, to come to Terre Haute and visit their loved ones.

“The families end up being victims also,” Sister Barbara said. “The residents are essentially in isolation. They have little contact. This is a small attempt to respect and honor their basic need for human connection, to reach out in love to them and to their loved ones.”

Several Sisters of Providence have ministered as spiritual advisors to death row residents throughout the years, offering hope and healing, and many have attended and were there during the aforementioned execution spree. Sister Barbara said helping the families of those on death row by setting up this effort is another expression of the Congregation’s justice work.

“This is an essential part of our justice work,” Sister Barbara said. “We want to help out those most affected by the systems that oppress people. It’s another way for us to reach out. We want to assist these families so that they can visit their loved ones. This grows out of our compassion and it recognizes their human dignity.”

By clicking here, you will find instructions on how to make a tax-deductible donation online or by check. This is your opportunity to help these family members see their loved ones. While some family members may be supported through their own churches and local communities, the Congregation and legal teams of these death row residents want to act further.

The Death Row Visitation Project funds will be distributed via a process set up by the core committee composed of two Sisters of Providence, two capital defense lawyers, and two members of the Terre Haute Death Penalty Resistance group.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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