Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille Helen Prejean – brought to national prominence after her memoir hit the big screen in “Dead Man Walking” – will speak during a virtual event March 25 at 7 p.m., sponsored by the Lawrenceville-based Center for FaithJustice.

“I was a high-schooler when ‘Dead Man Walking’ came out, and I always followed Sister Helen after that,” said Stephanie Peddicord, president of the social justice organization. “She made an impression … speaking about how faith and the call to justice intersect in a way I had never thought of before.”

Sister Helen is hosted by The Magdalene Circle, a Center for FaithJustice faith-based women’s philanthropy launched in 2017 that gives grants to young adult service leaders.

“It’s designed to help young people find their passion in the world … we anchor every year in a special event normally in the fall, to elevate, lift up and celebrate the voices of female Catholic thought leaders,” Peddicord said.

The Magdalene Circle had Sister Helen in mind as a speaker since early 2019. Sister Helen’s appearance was planned as an in-person event long before COVID-19 overtook the globe, and even before the spate of federal executions resumed in mid-2020.

The evening will include Sister Helen’s presentation of her 2019 book “River of Fire,” which speaks about her life and ministry prior to “Dead Man Walking.” The second half of the evening will be reserved for a question-and-answer period, which Peddicord will moderate. “She will also be talking about vocations, gifts and where God is calling you,” she said.

With the rush to execute 13 federal death row inmates in the past year, Sister Helen, who has worked for decades trying to abolish the death penalty, “was thrust back into the spotlight,” Peddicord continued. “She’s just as passionate now as she was back in the 1980s when she started … [During her presentation] she will speak to the recent re-opening of federal executions, mass incarceration and the impact of COVID on the justice system.”

A silver lining of the online venue has been the option to invite more participants to Sister Helen’s talk.

“This is something we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to invite as many people to,” Peddicord said. “Normally it would be during the day hours and a ticketed event, but now we are encouraging schools to get students to come.

“We’re so grateful for voices like hers,” she continued, “[someone] not afraid to speak and provide a voice to those whom society has shunned.”

Sister Helen’s talk is free and open to the public; however, participants must register by visiting and clicking on the March 25 event.