January 13, 2003

Dear Governor Ryan,

When asked by the press to comment on your decision to grant commutations to all on death row I have three words: INTEGRITY, PRINCIPLE, DECENCY.

And these pure values that informed your journey and your decision will be what sustains you as the backlash of criticism is hurled at you. It can’t really touch you or cause you inner anguish because you’ve already been through the anguishing part to reach your decision. Truth sets us free but integrity maintains our equanimity of spirit in the midst of criticism. You stand in a pure, clean place because you know you have acted on principle and done what decency required of you: to use the power of your office to assure that innocent people will not go to their deaths along with the guilty.

My love and prayers and great, great gratitude are with you.

Sister Helen Prejean