A Ministry of Life and Death

Criminal justice advocate Sr. Kathy Broussard speaks to students at St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, LA.

It’s Friday morning, and Sr. Kathy Broussard is a little stressed.

She’s been reviewing cases all week – medical records, school records, family histories and traveling to visit clients all over the state of Louisiana. She needs to prepare a psycho-social history for one client, and decide whether to recommend an evaluation for another.

But it’s not just that she’s busy. It’s that Sr. Kathy – a Death Penalty Mitigator for the Capital Defense Project – is in a ministry of life and death.

“It’s not my job to ask people to excuse those who have committed capital crimes,” Sr. Kathy says.

“But it is my job to humanize my client to a jury. Many of my clients have grown up in terrible environments. They may be mentally or intellectually handicapped. One person is on death row for a crime that he did not even commit. More and more death row inmates are being exonerated.”

The Dominican Sisters of Peace are committed to ending the death penalty. Sr. Kathy continues working with inmates, families, parole officers and more to stop the death penalty one life at a time.

“Louisiana is a tough state for death penalty work,” she continues. “We have to contend with longstanding racial prejudice. The national rate for African Americans on death row is 16% – in Louisiana, 80% of those on death row are people of color.”


Working with her colleagues at the Capital Defense Project, Sr. Kathy has helped to save nearly 250 lives.