2014 – Belle Harris Bennett Vision Award, Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, TN; Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, College of Our Lady of the Elms, Chicopee, MA
2013 – Robert M. Holstein Faith That Does Justice Award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network; Living Legends Award for Service to Humanity, The Living Legends Awards Organization, Fulton, MD; Honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AK
2011 – Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Great Falls, Great Falls, MT; Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA; The Otis Social Justice Award, Wheaton College, Norton, MA; National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Lifetime Achievement Award, Chicago, IL
2010 – Honorary Doctor of Laws from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Gaudium et Spes Award, Fordham University, Bronx, NY; President’s Medal, Mt. Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD; Cunningham-Carey Award, Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
2009 – An honorary degree from Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA; the Archbishop Oscar Romero Award from Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA; an honorary degree from Drury University, Springfield, MO; honorary degree from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
2008 – World Methodist Peace Award, New Orleans, LA; an honorary degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; an honorary degree from Edgewood College, Madison, WI; The Gaudium Award from The Breukelein Institute, Brooklyn, NY; Ethics Award, Marymount University, Arlington, VA
2007 – The Zhakanaka Peace Award from the “Peace in the City” Campaign, Philadelphia, PA; an honorary degree from Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX; an honorary degree from Marion College, Fond du Lac, WI; an honorary degree from Lewis University, Romeoville, IL; Dignitatis Humanae Award from the University of St. Thomas, School of Law in Minneapolis, MN; an honorary citation from the City Council of Philadelphia, PA
2006 – An honorary degree from the University of Portland, Portland, OR; Standard for Christ Award from the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: South, TX; Chancellor Distinguish Honor Award from the University of California-Berkley, Berkley, CA; Humanitarian Award from DePaul University, College of Law, Chicago, IL; an honorary degree from Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY
2005 – Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU Foundation of Northern California; Oliver-Sigur Humanitarian Service Award from The Louisiana Council of Human Relations, LA; Death Penalty Focus Award; an honorary degree from Neumann College, Ashton, PA; an honorary degree from Regis University, Denver, CO; an honorary degree from St. Francis University, Loretta, PA; an honorary degree from Loyola University, New Orleans, LA; Peace Prize, Ypres, Belgium; an honorary degree from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY; Commendation for Humanitarian Efforts given by the State of Mississippi
2004 – Cardinal Suenens Award from John Carroll University in University Heights, OH; an honorary degree from Cuny Law School in Queens, New York; an honorary degree from Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA; an honorary degree from Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA; an honorary degree from City University of New York, New York.
2003 – Franciscan International Award from Franciscan Retreats, Prior Lake, MN; an honorary degree from Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL; an honorary degree from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL; James Cardinal Gibbons Medal from Catholic University of American, Washington, DC; Assembly Resolution honoring Sr. Helen from the Toledo City Council, Toledo, OH; The Dignitas Humana Award from St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, MN.
2002 – the Ut Diligatis Invicem Award from Gannon University, Erie, PA; an honorary degree from Ball State University, Muncie, IN; an honorary degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, MI.; an honorary degree from Governors State University, University Park, IL; an honorary degree from University of Dayton, Dayton, OH; an honorary degree from National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland; Caritas Award from Catholic Charities in Paterson, New Jersey; the Dignitas Humana Award from St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, MN.
2001 – the Harry F. Fagan Roundtable Award; an honorary degree from St. Mary of the Woods from Terra Haute, Indiana; an honorary degree from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia; an honorary degree from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania; an honorary degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas; an honorary degree from St. Rose College in Albany, New York; Arkansas Travelers Ambassador of Good Will given by the State of Arkansas.
2000 – the Bishop Dingman Peace Award from the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines, Iowa. She received the Bishop Carroll Dozier Peace and Justice Award from the Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee; an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario; an honorary degree DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois; an honorary degree from Northeastern University in Boston, MA; the Human Rights Award from The St. Anthony Messenger in Padua, Italy; an honorary degree from St. Thomas University in Fredericton New Brunswick, Canada; an honorary degree from Alvernia College, Reading, PA; special recognition given by the Ohio Senate.
1999 – an honorary degree from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa; an honorary degree from Maryville University in St Louis, Missouri; an honorary degree from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida; an honorary degree from Avila College in Kansas City, KS; an honorary degree from Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania; an honorary degree from the University of San Francisco in San Francisco, CA; an honorary degree from Holy Cross College in Worchester, Massachusetts; the Catholic Woman of Achievement Award from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey; the 1999 U.S. Catholic Award from the U.S. Catholic Magazine in Chicago; the Pope John XXII Award at Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin; the Alumna of the Year Award from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada; the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Catholic Women; the Centennial Catholic Woman of Achievement Award from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio; the Centennial Catholic Woman of Achievement Award from St. Norbert College in DePerre, Wisconsin; Pope John XXIII Award from Viterbo University, La Crosse, WI.
1998 – the Ben Smith Award from the American Civil Liberties Union in New Orleans, La.; the Robert O. Cooper Fellowship in Peace and Justice Award and the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; the Abolitionist of the Year Award from Juneau, Alaska; the award at the 5th annual celebration of Women Week from Y.M.C.A. in New Orleans; an honorary degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington; an honorary degree from Notre Dame College in Manchester, New Hampshire; an honorary degree from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa and an honorary degree from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, CT; the Peacemakers Award from ROCA, Inc.; an honorary Faculty Award from New England College, NH; the Ketteler Award for Social Justice from the Sisters of Divine Providence, Kingston, MA; Arkansas Travelers Ambassador of Good Will given by the State of Arkansas.
1997 – an honorary doctorate from Mt. St. Vincent College in Riverdale, New York; the Carondelet Medal from Mt. ST. Mary College in Los Angeles, California and an honorary doctorate from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts; the Louisiana Legends Award in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by the Louisiana Public Broadcasting; an honorary degree from Fontbonne College, Clayton, MO; “Sr. Helen’s Day” declared by the State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA.
1996 – an honorary degree from Regis College in Weston, MA; an honorary degree from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey; an honorary degree from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA; an honorary degree from St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York; an honorary degree from George Town University in Washington, DC; a Torchbearer Award from the Dominican College in New Orleans, LA; an award for the Alliance for Justice; the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana; was asked to carry the torch for the Olympics in New Orleans on May 24,1996; the St Thomas More Award from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio, Texas; the Vision 2000 Courage Award from Catholic Charities U.S.A. and the 1996 Roger Baldwin Award from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts; received the Humanitas Prize as a consultant for the film Dead Man Walking; the Eyewitness Award of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty; the Adele Dewyer – St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award by Villanova University Center for Peace and Justice; the Florida Lasker Civil Liberties Award by the New York Civil Liberties Union; the Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award by Pax Christi USA; the “Kindly Light” Award given by the University of Toronto, Newman Center in Toronto, Canada; Sword of Loyola from Loyola University, Chicago, IL.
1995 – the New Orleans Business Women’s Owners Association Achievers Award; Citizen of the Year Award from Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; the Wade Mackie Award Peacemaking Award from Bienville House in Baton Rouge Louisiana; an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland; the Justice Albert Tate, Jr. Award’ from the National Association of Defense Lawyers in New Orleans; the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Christopher Spirit Award, New York, N.Y.
1994 – the Champion of Liberty Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (first time given to a non-lawyer); the Pax Christi USA Book Award (Honorable mention); the Melcher Book Award (Honorable mention) given by the Unitarian Universalist Association; Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice by Paulist Center, Boston, MA; Lifelines Book of the year from the Lifelines Association in the United Kingdom; the Abolitionist Award from the Death Penalty Focus, California; the “Esse non Videre” award (“To be and not to seem”) from St. Joseph’s College, New York; the National Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union, Georgia; the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Award from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights; Mirabella Magazine named her among “100 Fearless Women.”
1993 – the Christopher Award was given to Dead Man Walking for “artistic excellence affirming the highest value of the human spirit;” the Herbert and Sara Ehrmann Award from Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty; named One of the Most Confident Woman in America by McCall Magazine; Assembly Resolution honoring Sr. Helen from the California Legislature, CA.
1992 – the National Abolitionist Award given by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; the Catholic Press Association Journalism Award, Best Short Story – “Beloved Sons” – St. Anthony Messenger.
1990 – the Sanctity of Life Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Mike McGough Award from the Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministers.
1986 – the Abolitionist Award from the Louisiana Capitol Defense Project.