Two souls, one tragedy, and a quest for redemption in a world that demands vengeance.
The prison walls loomed high, casting ominous shadows over the small figure of Sister Helen Prejean as she made her way towards the gates. She had never been here before, never even imagined setting foot in a place like this. But Sister Helen had a job to do, a mission to fulfill, and she would not turn back now.
Matthew Poncelet sat on death row, waiting for his execution. He had been convicted of the brutal murder of a young couple, a crime that he claimed he did not commit. Sister Helen had been contacted by Poncelet’s mother, begging for her help. She had promised to try, to do what she could to bring peace to the troubled soul of her son.
As Sister Helen approached the gate, a guard stepped out from behind a small booth. She straightened her shoulders, trying to look confident, as the guard eyed her suspiciously.
“Can I help you?” he asked, his voice cold and impersonal.
“I’m here to see Matthew Poncelet,” Sister Helen replied, her voice steady.
The guard looked her up and down, then nodded. “Follow me.”
Sister Helen took a deep breath and followed the guard as he led her through the maze-like corridors of the prison. She tried not to think about the horrors that must go on behind these walls, the pain and fear that must be felt by the inmates and their families.
At last, the guard stopped in front of a door and gestured for Sister Helen to go in. She stepped inside, and the door slammed shut behind her with a resounding clang.
Chapter 1: The Condemned Man
Matthew Poncelet sat on his bed, staring blankly at the wall in front of him. He had been on death row for years, and in that time, he had seen many people come and go. Some had been released, while others had been executed. But every time he watched someone leave this place, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. They were free, while he was still here.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. He turned to see who it was, and his eyes widened as he saw the small figure of a nun step into the room.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Poncelet,” the nun said, her voice soft and gentle. “My name is Sister Helen Prejean.”
Poncelet raised an eyebrow. “What brings you here, sister?”
Sister Helen smiled. “Your mother contacted me. She asked me to come and see you, to offer you spiritual guidance and support.”
Poncelet snorted. “Like that’s gonna do any good.”
Sister Helen sat down on the low bench in front of his bed. “I know you’re angry, Matthew. I know you feel like nobody’s listening to you. But maybe if you talk to me, I can help you find some peace.”
Poncelet looked away, his gaze fixed on the wall. “There ain’t no peace in this place, sister. Only pain and suffering.”
Sister Helen took a deep breath. She knew she had her work cut out for her, but she was determined to try. “Would you mind if I prayed with you, Matthew?”
Poncelet shrugged. “Suit yourself, sister. But it ain’t gonna change nothing.”
Sister Helen bowed her head and began to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Poncelet listened to her words, but his mind was elsewhere. He thought about the night of the murder, about the things he had seen and heard. He knew he was innocent, but nobody believed him. His fate was sealed, and there was nothing he could do about it.
As Sister Helen finished her prayer, Poncelet looked up at her. “Thanks for coming, sister. But I don’t think there’s anything you can do for me.”
Sister Helen stood up, a determined look on her face. “I’ll be back, Matthew. I won’t give up on you.”
Poncelet watched her go, feeling a strange sense of both hope and despair. Maybe the nun was right. Maybe there was still some hope for him, even in this place of darkness and death. But he couldn’t help feeling like it was all just a pipe dream, a desperate fantasy that would never come true.
Chapter 2: The Victim’s Family
Sister Helen felt her stomach drop as she received the news that the murdered couple’s family wanted to meet with her. She knew it wasn’t going to be an easy meeting, but she steeled herself and made her way to their home.
The family was composed of two older parents, a brother, and a young child. They were all dressed in black, their faces drawn with grief, and anger. The father spoke first. “Sister, we know you’re trying to help that monster. But do you know what he did to our family? He took away our daughter, our son-in-law, and the mother of our grandchild.”
Sister Helen felt a wave of empathy for the family and their pain. She began to speak softly. “I know that this is a difficult time for your family, but please understand that my intention is not to diminish the pain you are feeling, but to help Matthew find the peace he needs in his final days.”
The brother spoke up next, his words slurred with rage. “I don’t care about his peace! He’s a killer! He deserves to die! And you’re just another bleeding heart liberal trying to save him!”
Sister Helen winced at the harsh words. She knew that she was viewed as an outsider, and that many people didn’t understand her motivations. She took a deep breath before responding. “I understand that it’s difficult for you to see me trying to help Matthew. But please know that I’m not trying to negate the pain you’re feeling. I’m trying to help both him and you find a way to move forward.”
The mother was the last to speak, her voice barely a whisper. “Sister, we just want justice for our daughter. She was so young, and she had so much to live for. Please don’t let him get away with what he did to her.”
Sister Helen felt her heart break at the mother’s words. She knew that there was no easy answer, and that justice meant different things to different people. She knew that the family needed to have their say, to be heard, and she listened as they shared their pain with her.
After the meeting, Sister Helen felt emotionally drained. She knew that she had a difficult job ahead of her, trying to reconcile the perspectives of both Matthew and the murdered couple’s family. She wondered if there was a way to find peace and justice for both sides, but she knew that it would be an uphill battle.
As she drove home, she thought about the brother’s words, and how many people saw her as a bleeding heart liberal. She knew that it wasn’t about politics, but about humanity. She wanted to show Matthew the compassion and mercy that she believed all humans deserved, even those who had committed heinous crimes. But she also knew that her work would not be easy, and that the road ahead would be filled with obstacles and opposition.
Sister Helen knew that she had a long night ahead, with many prayers to offer and many decisions to make. She hoped that she could find the strength to continue her work, even when it seemed like the world was against her.
Chapter 3: The Governor’s Phone Call
Sister Helen Prejean’s eyes widened in surprise as she answered the phone in her small office at the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. “Hello?”
“Is this Sister Helen?” A deep, authoritative voice came through the line.
“Yes, this is she,” Sister Helen responded, her heart pounding in her chest. She had been waiting for this call for weeks, ever since she had met Matthew Poncelet, the death row inmate now scheduled for execution.
“This is the office of the governor. We are calling to inform you that the governor has granted a temporary stay of execution for Matthew Poncelet.”
Sister Helen let out a deep breath, overwhelmed with a mix of relief and gratitude. She had been working tirelessly to convince the governor to grant a stay of execution, hoping that it would give her more time to reach Poncelet and help him find repentance for his sins.
“Thank you,” she said, feeling her eyes well up with tears. “Thank you so much.”
“You have until next Wednesday to meet with Mr. Poncelet before his execution,” the voice on the other end of the line continued. “Use your time wisely, Sister.”
“I will,” Sister Helen promised, feeling a sense of renewed hope wash over her. “I will do everything I can to help him.”
As she hung up the phone, Sister Helen closed her eyes and let out a long, slow breath. She knew the difficult work was just beginning, but she was determined to persevere.
Over the next few days, Sister Helen spent every waking moment trying to connect with Matthew Poncelet, hoping to break through the barriers he had built up around himself. She visited him in his cell, brought books and religious material, and talked to him about his life and his situation.
But Poncelet was stubborn and unresponsive, insisting on his innocence and rejecting Sister Helen’s attempts to connect with him on a deeper level.
“I don’t want your pity or your prayers,” he spat at her during one particularly tense visit. “I didn’t kill those kids, and I don’t need to be saved.”
Sister Helen knew she was fighting an uphill battle, but she refused to give up. She spent long hours studying and reflecting, searching for a way to reach Poncelet and help him find redemption.
Finally, on the eve of the deadline for Poncelet’s execution, Sister Helen received a surprise visit from Poncelet’s mother. The woman was haggard and careworn, her eyes dark with sadness and regret.
“I had to come and see you, Sister,” she said, her voice shaking with emotion. “I’ve been praying for you and Matthew, and I need to tell you something.”
Sister Helen listened intently as Poncelet’s mother revealed a dark secret from her family’s past, a secret that may have contributed to her son’s troubled behavior and ultimately led to the murders he was accused of.
As she listened, Sister Helen felt a sense of clarity wash over her. She knew what she had to do to reach Poncelet and help him find the redemption he so desperately needed.
The next morning, as she made her way to the prison to meet with Poncelet one last time, Sister Helen felt a sense of calm wash over her. She knew that this would be her most important visit yet, the one where she would finally break through the walls Poncelet had erected and help him find peace.
With a sense of determination and hope in her heart, Sister Helen walked into the death row prison and faced Matthew Poncelet one last time.
Chapter 4: The Emotional Visit
Sister Helen arrived at the Poncelet family’s small, run-down house on the outskirts of town with a sense of trepidation. She had come to talk to Matthew’s mother, Lucille, in the hopes of understanding her son better. It was clear to Sister Helen that Matthew was a deeply troubled man, and she believed that his mother might be able to shed some light on his troubled past.
Lucille Poncelet greeted Sister Helen at the door with a mix of suspicion and gratitude. She was a small, frail-looking woman in her late sixties, with deep lines etched into her face from years of worry and sorrow. Sister Helen knew that Lucille had been through a great deal of pain and suffering in her life – she had lost two sons to prison, and her husband had died of a heart attack shortly after Matthew’s arrest.
“Sister Helen, thank you for coming,” Lucille said, leading Sister Helen to a small table in the living room. “I don’t know what you hope to accomplish here, but I’m willing to talk to you.”
Sister Helen sat down across from Lucille and took a deep breath. “I just want to understand Matthew better,” she said. “I believe that he is a good man at heart, but he has made some terrible mistakes.”
Lucille shook her head. “Matthew has always been a troubled boy,” she said. “He was always getting into fights, and he started drinking and doing drugs at a young age. I tried to get him help, but nothing seemed to work. And then he got mixed up with those boys who killed that couple.”
Sister Helen leaned forward. “Do you believe that Matthew is guilty?” she asked.
Lucille hesitated for a moment before answering. “I don’t know,” she said. “He always claimed that he was innocent, and I want to believe him. But I don’t know what to think anymore. The evidence against him was strong.”
Sister Helen listened intently as Lucille told her about Matthew’s childhood, his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and his run-ins with the law. She could see the pain and guilt etched into Lucille’s face as she spoke, and she knew that this woman had suffered a great deal.
Finally, Sister Helen took a deep breath and asked the question that had been on her mind since she arrived. “Lucille, is there something that you’re not telling me?” she asked. “Something that might help me understand Matthew better?”
Lucille looked away for a moment before answering. “There is something,” she said. “Something that I’ve been keeping to myself for years. But I don’t know if I should tell you.”
Sister Helen leaned forward. “Please, Lucille,” she said. “If there’s anything that can help me understand Matthew better, I need to know.”
Lucille took a deep breath and began to speak. “When Matthew was a boy, he was friends with a black boy named Jerry,” she said. “Jerry was a good boy, but his family was poor, and they lived in a bad part of town. One day, Matthew and Jerry got into a fight with some white boys from the neighborhood. The fight turned ugly, and Jerry was badly hurt. Matthew and the other boys ran away, leaving Jerry to die on the street.”
Sister Helen gasped. “Lucille, are you telling me that Matthew was involved in a murder before he was even a teenager?” she asked.
Lucille nodded. “I never told anyone about it,” she said. “Not even Matthew’s father. I was afraid that if I spoke up, Matthew would be taken away from me. And I didn’t want to believe that my son was capable of such a terrible thing.”
Sister Helen was silent for a long moment, processing the information she had just received. She knew that this revelation could change everything – it could explain Matthew’s violent tendencies, his destructive behavior, and perhaps even his involvement in the murder of the young couple.
“Lucille, thank you for telling me this,” Sister Helen finally said. “I know that it must have been difficult for you. But I believe that this information could help Matthew. It could help him understand himself better and come to terms with the mistakes he’s made.”
Lucille nodded, tears streaming down her face. “I hope you’re right,” she said. “I hope that Matthew can find peace before it’s too late.”
Chapter 5: The Final Hours
Sister Helen could feel the clock ticking. The hours were slipping through her fingers, and each moment that passed brought Matthew Poncelet closer to his execution. She had spent months fighting to save his life, to show him the value of his own soul, but now there was nothing left to do. The stay of execution that had been granted by the governor’s office was set to expire in just a few hours, and Poncelet would be put to death by lethal injection.
She sat alone in her small room in the prison, located just a few feet from Poncelet’s cell. She had spent countless hours in that cell, talking to Poncelet, praying with him, trying to get through to him. But now it was quiet, and she knew that Poncelet was at peace with himself. He had come to terms with his fate, and he was ready to face whatever lay ahead.
Sister Helen knew she couldn’t sit there and do nothing. She needed to say goodbye to Poncelet. She stood up and walked quietly to his cell. As she approached, she could hear him breathing heavily. She looked through the small window and saw him lying on his bunk, his eyes closed.
“Poncelet?” she whispered.
He opened his eyes and looked at her.
“Sister,” he said softly.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“I’m okay,” he said. “Just a little nervous, I guess.”
“I understand,” she said. “I’m nervous too.”
She pulled up a chair and sat down next to his bed. They sat in silence for a few moments, each lost in their own thoughts.
“I want to thank you for everything, Sister,” Poncelet said finally. “You’ve been a real friend to me.”
“It’s been my privilege,” she said. “I’m honored to have gotten to know you.”
“I wish I could have met you under different circumstances,” he said. “Maybe we could have been friends in another life.”
Sister Helen smiled sadly. “Maybe we will be friends in another life,” she said.
“I hope so,” he said. “I really do.”
There was another long pause, and then Poncelet spoke again.
“Sister, can I ask you something?”
“Do you believe in God?”
Sister Helen nodded. “Yes, I do.”
“Even after everything that’s happened?” he asked. “After all the pain and suffering in the world?”
“Especially after everything that’s happened,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to see, but I believe that God is always with us, even in the darkest moments.”
Poncelet nodded slowly. “I hope you’re right,” he said.
“I know I am,” she said firmly.
They sat in silence for a few moments longer, and then Poncelet spoke again.
“I’m scared, Sister,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen when I die.”
“None of us do,” she said. “But I believe that God is merciful, and I trust that He will take care of you.”
“I hope so,” he said.
Sister Helen stood up. “I have to go now,” she said. “But I’ll be here for you until the very end.”
“Thank you, Sister,” he said. “Thank you for everything.”
Sister Helen walked slowly back to her room. She knew that Poncelet’s time was running out, and there was nothing left to do but wait.
Hours passed, and the time for Poncelet’s execution drew near. Sister Helen sat outside the prison gates, along with a small group of supporters and protestors. The tension was thick in the air, and the atmosphere was suffocating. She could feel the eyes of the victim’s family on her, their anger and resentment palpable. She knew there was nothing she could say to ease their pain, nothing she could do to change the past.
As the clock struck midnight, the guards led Poncelet to the execution chamber. He looked calm and collected, but Sister Helen could see the fear in his eyes. She closed her own eyes and started to pray, asking God to give him strength and peace.
When she opened her eyes again, Poncelet was strapped to the table, his arms and legs secured. The medical team was running final checks, and the warden was giving the order to proceed.
Sister Helen could feel her heart pounding in her chest. She had never witnessed an execution before, and she wasn’t sure if she could handle it. But she knew that she had to be there for Poncelet, to offer him comfort and support in his final moments.
The warden gave the signal, and the first chemical was administered. Poncelet’s body convulsed, and he let out a low moan. Sister Helen felt tears prick at the corners of her eyes. She kept praying, hoping that somehow her words could reach him, could ease his suffering.
The second and third chemicals were administered, and Poncelet’s body went still. Sister Helen watched as he took his final breath, his eyes closed in peaceful repose.
She stood there for a long time, watching as the medical team confirmed that he was dead. She felt a profound sadness wash over her, a sense of loss that she couldn’t quite shake.
As she walked away from the prison gates, she knew that she would never forget Matthew Poncelet. She would never forget the lessons he had taught her, the experiences they had shared. She would never forget the struggle for justice and the fight for compassion.
But most of all, she would never forget the human heart, the resilience of the spirit, and the transformative power of love.
Chapter 6: The Vigil
As the day of Matthew Poncelet’s execution draws near, Sister Helen and her small group of supporters gather outside the prison gates to keep vigil. They hope that their presence will bring comfort to Poncelet during his final hours. Sister Helen is determined to stay with Poncelet until the end, despite the many obstacles she faces.
When they arrive at the prison, they are met by a large crowd of protestors. They hold signs and chant slogans, demanding justice for the victims of Poncelet’s crimes. The victim’s family is also there, consumed with grief and anger. They confront Sister Helen, accusing her of defending a murderer.
Despite the hostility of the crowd, Sister Helen and her supporters manage to set up a small camp outside the prison gates. They bring blankets and chairs, and they organize themselves into a prayer circle. They begin to sing hymns and recite prayers, hoping to bring a measure of peace to the fraught situation.
As the day wears on, Sister Helen and her supporters become more and more exhausted. They are hungry and thirsty, and they have to contend with the summer heat. The crowd of protestors grows louder and more aggressive, taunting the vigil-goers and hurling insults.
Despite the adversity, Sister Helen remains steadfast. She knows that this vigil is her duty as a spiritual adviser, and she is committed to seeing it through to the end. She takes comfort in the knowledge that Poncelet is not alone in his final hours.
As the sun begins to set, the atmosphere outside the prison grows more tense. The victim’s family becomes more agitated, and the protestors become more confrontational. Sister Helen and her supporters huddle together, praying for safety and guidance.
As the hour of execution approaches, Sister Helen is allowed to enter the prison to be with Poncelet. She embraces him and prays with him, offering words of comfort and reassurance. She stays with him until the very end, holding his hand and singing hymns as he takes his last breath.
When Sister Helen emerges from the prison, she is emotionally drained but resolute. She knows that Poncelet’s death was not in vain, and she vows to continue her work as a spiritual adviser and advocate for justice. She sees the pain and suffering of all those involved, and she yearns for a better world where such tragedies do not occur.
The aftermath of the vigil is bittersweet. While Sister Helen is able to find solace in her faith and her convictions, she is also reminded of the complex and often fraught nature of the criminal justice system. She knows that many people will continue to suffer, and she pledges to do what she can to ease their pain. The vigil may be over, but the fight for justice goes on.
Chapter 7: The Aftermath
Sister Helen sat alone in her small apartment, reflecting on the events of the past few weeks. It had been a rollercoaster of emotions, from hope to despair, from anger to forgiveness. Her mind was still reeling from Poncelet’s execution, and she struggled to come to terms with the outcome.
As she sat in silence, she heard a knock at the door. It was the mother of one of the victims, who had been so hostile towards her during the vigil. Sister Helen was surprised, but she welcomed her inside.
The woman was visibly shaken, tears streaming down her face. She had come to apologize for her behavior, to thank Sister Helen for trying to help Poncelet find peace. She said she had been so consumed with anger and bitterness that she had lost sight of what was truly important.
Sister Helen listened patiently, and then took her hand. “We all make mistakes,” she said. “But it’s never too late to make things right.” The two women embraced, and Sister Helen felt a weight lift off her shoulders.
After the woman left, Sister Helen sat down at her desk. She knew that the fight for justice was far from over, and that there would be more cases like Poncelet’s in the future. But she also knew that she couldn’t do it alone.
She began writing a letter to the governor, urging him to reconsider the death penalty, to look at alternative forms of punishment that would be more just and humane. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she was determined to keep fighting.
As she wrote, she thought about Poncelet and the lessons he had taught her. She realized that even though he had made terrible mistakes, he had also shown courage and compassion in his final moments. He had taught her that redemption was possible, even in the darkest of places.
She finished the letter and sealed it in an envelope. She knew that it was just a small step, but it was a step in the right direction. She hoped that her words would resonate with the governor and others who had the power to make a difference.
As she lay down in bed that night, Sister Helen thought about the journey she had been on. She had come to know Poncelet as a complex individual, not just a killer. She had seen the pain and suffering of the victim’s family, but also the potential for healing and forgiveness.
She knew that her work was far from over, that there were more battles to be fought. But she also knew that she was not alone, that there were others who shared her vision of a more just and compassionate society.
As she drifted off to sleep, Sister Helen smiled, knowing that she had found her calling. She was a voice for the voiceless, a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope for those who had lost all hope. And she would not rest until justice was served.
Some scenes from the movie Dead Man Walking written by A.I.
INT. PRISON VISITATION ROOM – DAY
MATTHEW PONCELET, a rugged and desperate-looking man in his early thirties, sits across from SISTER HELEN PREJEAN, a middle-aged nun with an expression of kindness.
Why should I trust you? You’re a nun. You don’t know anything about the real world.
I may not understand your world, but I’m here to help you find peace.
I didn’t kill those kids. You gotta believe me.
I don’t know if you’re innocent, Matthew. But I know that you’re a human being deserving of love and compassion.
I’m scared, Sister. I don’t want to die.
Sister Helen reaches across the table to take his hand. Poncelet looks at her in surprise but doesn’t pull away.
I’m here for you, Matthew. Let me help you find the peace you need.
Logline: When a death row inmate turns to a local nun for spiritual guidance in the days leading up to his execution, both he and the nun are forced to confront harsh truths about themselves and the justice system.
– Sister Helen Prejean: A nun who becomes the spiritual advisor to Matthew Poncelet on death row.
– Matthew Poncelet: A death row inmate who turns to Sister Helen for guidance and redemption.
– Clyde Percy: The father of the murdered girl, he vehemently opposes Sister Helen’s support for Poncelet and wants him executed.
– Earl Delacroix: The lawyer representing Poncelet in his appeals process.
Setting: The visiting area of the prison.
INT. VISITING AREA – DAY
Sister Helen sits across from Poncelet, both of them separated by a thick glass partition.
I don’t even know why you bother coming to see me. You think you’re gonna save my soul or something?
I’m here to offer you spiritual guidance, Matthew.
I don’t need your guidance. I need a lawyer who knows how to get me off death row.
I understand your frustration, but I want to help you find peace before you leave this world.
Peace? What kind of peace can I find in this hellhole? I didn’t even do it, Sister. You gotta believe me.
I believe that you’re remorseful for what happened, Matthew. But you have to face the consequences of your actions and make amends before it’s too late.
Suddenly, Clyde Percy storms into the visiting area, interrupting their conversation.
What the hell do you think you’re doing, Sister? Don’t you know who this scumbag is?
I’m here to offer Matthew spiritual guidance, Mr. Percy.
Spiritual guidance? He doesn’t deserve guidance. He deserves to die for what he did to my daughter!
I didn’t do it! You can’t kill me for something I didn’t do!
Gentlemen, please. Let’s all take a deep breath and remember why we’re here. We all want justice to be served, but we need to approach it with compassion and fairness.
As the tension in the room subsides, Sister Helen shares a compassionate look with Poncelet, understanding the weight of his situation.
INT. PRISON VISITATION ROOM – DAY
Sister Helen sits across from Matthew Poncelet, who is still adamant about his innocence. He’s agitated and fidgeting in his seat.
Matthew: “I can’t believe you’re still trying to save me. I’m a lost cause, sister. The governor’s stay won’t change anything.”
Sister Helen: “Your life is worth fighting for, Matthew. You are not beyond redemption.”
Matthew: “You don’t know what it’s like. To be trapped in this place, waiting for death. You can’t save me.”
Sister Helen: “I’m not here to save you, Matthew. I’m here to bring you to God.”
Matthew: “I don’t want to talk about God. I want to talk about why you’re fighting for a lost cause.”
Sister Helen: “I’m fighting for the truth, Matthew. And the truth is, you’re more than the sum of your mistakes. You have a soul, a spirit, that deserves to be saved.”
Matthew: “You don’t know anything about me, sister. You don’t know what I’ve done.”
Sister Helen: “I know enough to know that you’re worth saving. That you’re worth fighting for.”
Matthew looks away, tears in his eyes.
Matthew: “I don’t know what to say.”
Sister Helen: “You don’t have to say anything, Matthew. Just listen. Listen to what God is telling you.”
Matthew takes a deep breath and looks back at Sister Helen.
Matthew: “Okay, sister. I’ll listen.”
EXT. TRAILER PARK – DAY
A rundown trailer park in the heart of the city. Sister Helen Prejean walks down the dirt road, nervously clutching her bible. She pauses at one of the trailers and knocks on the door.
MRS. PONCELET (O.S.)
Who is it?
Sister Helen Prejean. Can we talk?
The door creaks open and a middle-aged woman, LUCILLE PONCELET, peers out at Sister Helen. She hesitates for a moment, then steps aside to let Sister Helen in.
INT. TRAILER – DAY
Lucille’s trailer is cluttered and cramped. A worn sofa sits against one wall, stacks of old magazines and newspapers litter the floor. Lucille sits opposite Sister Helen, clutching a tissue in her hands.
I’m sorry to disturb you, Lucille. I just wanted to talk to you for a few minutes.
It’s alright, Sister. I don’t mind. What can I do for you?
I’ve been spending time with your son, Matthew. And I was hoping you could help me understand him better.
Lucille’s face darkens.
Oh, Matthew. He’s been nothing but trouble his whole life. I don’t know what I did wrong raising him.
I think there’s more to it than that. Something deeper.
Maybe you’re right. I haven’t always been the best mother. But I did love him, Sister. I do love him.
Sister Helen leans forward, her voice gentle.
Lucille, I need to ask you something. Something that’s been troubling me for a while now. Do you know about the night of the murders?
Lucille looks away, tears welling up in her eyes.
I’m sorry, Sister. I can’t talk about it anymore.
(places hand on Lucille’s shoulder)
It’s okay, Lucille. I understand. But if you ever do want to talk about it, if there’s anything you need to tell me, I’m here for you.
Lucille nods, wiping her tears with the tissue.
Thank you, Sister. Thank you so much.
Sister Helen rises to leave.
I’ll come back and visit you soon, Lucille. Take care of yourself.
Sister Helen exits the trailer. Lucille collapses onto the sofa, weeping uncontrollably.
Setting: A prison cell, 2 days before the execution of Matthew Poncelet
Characters: Matthew Poncelet (Death Row Inmate), Sister Helen Prejean (Catholic Nun)
INT. PRISON CELL – DAY
Matthew is sitting on his bed, staring at the ceiling.
Sister Helen enters the cell.
How are you feeling, Matthew?
How do you think I’m feeling, Sister? I’m going to die in two days.
I know it’s hard, but I am here to help you.
What can you do now? It’s too late.
It’s never too late, Matthew. We can still talk and pray together.
Yeah, praying is going to save me from the needle.
I understand your anger and frustration, but I want to help you find peace in your heart before you die.
I don’t know if I can do that, Sister. I don’t think God can forgive me for what I’ve done.
God’s forgiveness is infinite, Matthew. You just need to open your heart and accept it.
(tears in his eyes)
I want to believe you, Sister. But it’s hard.
It’s okay. We can take it one step at a time. Let’s pray together and ask God for guidance.
(Matthew and Sister Helen hold hands and bow their heads in prayer)