Ursulines oppose death penalty

 For more information call Sister Colette Livingston at 440-449-1200 Ext. 125.

Ursuline Sisters Corporate Stance on the Death Penalty

After a year-long process of education and discussion on the complex issues of capital punishment, Ursuline Sisters and associates voted in July 1998 to adopt an official corporate stance to oppose the death penalty.

The rapes and murders of two Cleveland Ursulines, Sister Dorothy Kazel in El Salvador in 1980 and Sister Joanne Marie Mascha in Pepper Pike, Ohio in 1995, were major influences on our decision to adopt this corporate stance.  In the latter case, Ursulines initiated a massive letter writing campaign requesting the prosecutor's office eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option for Sister Joanne Marie's killer.  Sister Joanne Marie's murderer is currently serving a life-sentence.

Our sisters collaborate with students and like-minded organizations by participating at prayer vigils locally and in Lucasville, Ohio where executions take place. We also write to our legislators to help influence their votes on the issue.

It's a sobering experience to pray, toll bells, hold lit candles and wait outside in any kind of weather until we heard officially that the execution had taken place," says Sister Colette Livingston of her experience at Lucasville prayer vigils. "We would continue to wait and pray until the body was removed from the 'death house' and driven away in a van to wherever the family preferred. Guards would be watching us to ensure that our vigil was peaceful," she adds.

Committed to transforming society, the Ursulines and their Associates continue to work toward abolishing the death penalty by:
  • Continuing to pray for and support murder victims and their families
  • Presenting information on the death penalty
  • Participating in vigils for prisoners on death row
  • Engaging in letter-writing campaigns

In addition to building awareness of the horror and injustice of the possibility of innocent people losing their lives to court-ordered execution, the Cleveland Ursulines, together with the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, assert that the death penalty only serves to intensify the cycle of violence, models revenge without reconciliation and represents a poor example of problem solving, especially to young people. In addition, we assert that the death penalty is applied disproportionately to the poor and to minorities.

For More Information on Abolishing the Death Penalty
Visit: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty at http://www.ncadp.org/ 
EMail: Cleveland Coalition Against the Death Penalty at clevedp@yahoo.com