The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods spoke out against, and prayed for, all people impacted by the death penalty and their victims last week. The first federal executions in 17 years took place on July 14, 16 and 17 at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, located just 10 miles from the Sisters of Providence motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The Sisters of Providence held a prayer vigil at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Sunday evening. Representatives of the Sisters of Providence also attended and spoke at the Death Penalty Action group’s federal execution press conferences, which took place on July 6 and 13. Sisters of Providence also joined peaceful demonstrations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at the corner of U.S. 41 and Springhill Road in Terre Haute, not far from where the executions were taking place.
We stand for all life, not death. As a Congregation, we believe humanity has moved past the old adage of “an eye for an eye.” In fact, Jesus urged all to “turn the other cheek.” As a Congregation, we call on our country to move beyond these barbaric rituals.
Sister Teresa Kang holds a love, mercy, justice sign during the anti-death penalty protest at US 41 and Springhill in Terre Haute on Wednesday.
Sister Paula Modaff prays the closing prayer during Sunday’s service, “God of compassion and justice, look with kindness upon your people and hear our prayer. In your goodness, you have given us the awesome power to generate life and also to take it away. Be with us, O God, as we keep vigil in our prayer. Be with us in our desire to be people of light and life to others. Amen.”
Terre Haute NAACP branch president Sylvester Edwards speaks to members of the media at the July 13 Death Penalty Action federal execution press conference while (back, from left) Sister Paula Damiano, Karen Burkhart, Arthur Feinsod and Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp look on.
Sister Nancy Bartasavich, left, joins the group of the peaceful anti-death penalty protesters along US 41 in Terre Haute on Wednesday
Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp welcomed everyone to prayer and led the group in the opening prayer, “A Prayer to Abolish the Death Penalty,” by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, published by Pax Christi. It began, “God of Compassion, You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust. Expand and deepen our hearts so that we may love as You love, even those among us who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.”
Joining the Monday demonstration against the death penalty are, from left, Sisters Anji Fan, Mary Montgomery, Jeanne Hagelskamp and Barbara Battista
Death Penalty Action co-director Abraham Bonowitz (left) speaks to the media during a July 6 press conference along with (from left) Sister Barbara Battista, Karen Burkhart and Sylvester Edwards.
Sister Paula Damiano (front) speaks to members of the media during a July 13 federal execution press conference. Behind include (from left) Arthur Feinsod, Karen Burkhart and Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp.
Sister Mary Montgomery speaks with Franciscan Brother Ian Bremar during Monday’s demonstration
The sister demonstrators hold their sign declaring love, mercy and justice along the side of the busy highway in Terre Haute during Friday’s execution.
Sister Barbara Battista speaking to members of the media at the July 6 press conference.
Sisters join the demonstration against the death penalty on Monday, from left, Sisters Anji Fan, Mary Montgomery, Paula Damiano and Jeanne Hagelskamp.
Members of the media photograph the sister demonstrators during Monday’s protest
Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp stands behind Terre Haute NAACP branch president Sylvester Edwards at the July 13 federal execution press conference.
Demonstrators including Sisters Mary Montgomery and Franciscan Brother Ian Bremar, are engulfed by black smoke from a passing truck.
Abraham Bonowitz (from left), Sister Barbara Battista and Sylvester Edwards during the July 6 press conference.
Sister Mary Montgomery holds her sign aloft during Monday’s demonstration against the death penalty
Sister Paula Damiano is interviewed by the media during Monday’s demonstration against the death penalty
Sisters of Providence gather in the Church of the Immaculate Conception for Sunday’s prayer vigil in wake of the three scheduled executions.
From left, Sisters Mary Montgomery, Teresa Kang and Jessica Vitente represent the Sisters of Providence at Wednesday’s demonstration.
Sisters and other anti-death-penalty demonstrators gather at the corner of US 41 and Springhill in Terre Haute on Monday.
Sister Paula Damiano (left) next to Arthur Feinsod (center) and Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp (right) at the July 13 Death Penalty Action press conference prior to the scheduled execution of Daniel Lewis Lee.
Sister Jan Craven prepares to speak during Friday’s vigil during the execution of Dustin Honken
Terre Haute NAACP Branch President Sylvester Edwards (center) speaks during a July 6 press conference alongside (from left) Sister Barbara Battista, Karen Burkhart and Arthur Feinsod.
Joining the Friday vigil/demonstration representing the Sisters of Providence are, from left, Sisters Paula Damiano, Jan Craven, Jessica Vitente and Jeanne Hagelskamp.
Sister Mary Montgomery joins the Congregation by praying the Lord’s Prayer towards the end of the Sunday prayer service.
Sister Nancy Bartasavich holds a sign speaking out against the death penalty during Wednesday’s protest.
Sisters of Providence gathered in the Church of the Immaculate Conception on the evening of July 12 to hold a prayer vigil prior to the three scheduled executions in the coming week. While honoring physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sisters prayed for all who were involved in violence – the victims and their families as well the three men scheduled to be executed and their families.
Sister demonstrators stand on the side of US 41 in Terre Haute joining anti-death penalty protestors on Friday.
Sister Paula Damiano takes her turn sounding the bell during the execution of Dustin Lee Honken.
Sister Anji Fan holds her sign up during Monday’s protest
Sisters of Providence join the prayer vigil/demonstration on Friday during the execution of Dustin Lee Honken