The Franciscan Sisters of Mary, based in St. Louis, Missouri, took a corporate stance against the death penalty in 2008. This community ministers to people on the margins of society throughout the world. On each expected execution date, sisters remember the persons to be executed, their families and their victims. Sisters have the opportunity to sign a copy of the Declaration of Life, a form stating that if they are killed by a violent act, they ask that the perpetrator not receive the death penalty. The congregation continues to join with others who work in opposition to the death penalty. As a congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of Mary believes the death penalty to be one of the most serious human rights abuses in the United States.
Death Penalty Statement
In light of our commitment to the value and dignity of human life, we join our voices with those who oppose the use of the death penalty. Jesus Christ provides a guiding moral vision for us. He urged the disciples and us to abandon the law of retaliation, to love our enemies, to confront evil without violence, and to forgive our persecutors. As followers of Christ, we stand for justice without vengeance. The rage, grief, and anguish of victims and loved ones are understandable. Our prayers remain with them in their grief, but we believe that publicly legitimized killing is not a solution to pain or even to grave injustices. We reject the death penalty and support other more appropriate means to assure justice and administer punishment more in keeping with the dignity of the human person, the Gospel vision of respect for life and Christ’s message of reconciling love.