'Execute justice, not people...' Sisters of Providence speak out against Federal Executions

The Attorney General announced Federal Executions will begin again in Terre Haute in December. Sisters of Providence at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods said they're still against the act.

Posted: Jul 26, 2019 10:28 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- Attorney General William Barr made the announcement yesterday. He directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt an addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol. That makes way for capital punishment to resume after nearly 2 decades. Death row on the Federal level is located right here in Terre Haute, at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary.

The Sisters of Providence have always been outspoken when it comes to federal executions. They've had silent protests at each one in the past. Now that federal executions will start again they said they'll be at each one.

"We don't believe that killing is right whether it's done in anger or whether it's done by law enforcement," Sister Rita Clare Gerardot of Sisters of Providence said. "Killing is killing."

Sister Rita Clare Gerardot has been in the Sisters of Providence congregation since 1944.

So you can imagine she's seen a lot of things going on in the Wabash Valley, the state, country and the world. One of those things is the death penalty.

"I don't believe in the death penalty. As a community, we don't believe in the death penalty," she said.

Now, after almost 2 decades the capital punishment will start again, right here in Terre Haute and sister Rita Clare said she will still fight against it.

"What they've done is detestable, certainly, and they deserve to be punished but killing them is not the answer to that," she said. "Life in prison without the possibility of parole is certainly a punishment that they have to live with day after day after day."

She said she's been to all of the executions that have happened in the past at Terre Haute's federal prison.

"It was very very solemn. There was no chit chat back and forth it was a very solemn gathering of people. And sobering very sobering," Sister Rita Clare said.

She hopes to have no more, but if they continue she will be at the next.

"We should never judge a person by the worst thing that they've ever done and I'm sure that most of these men who are there that is probably the worst thing that they have ever done," she said.

There are 5 death row inmates already scheduled for execution. Those will start in December at Terre Haute's Federal Prison.

Sister Rita Clare sais the Sisters of Providence and other clergy members will be there to pray for the prisoner, their families, and the people they killed.

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