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Dominican Associate Receives Peace Award

CALDWELL, NJ August 6, 2006 – During a prayer ritual celebrating New Jersey’s recent legislation that places a moratorium on capital punishment in the state, Lois Seeligsohn, OPA, a mother, grandmother and an Associate of the Caldwell Dominican Sisters, received the 2006 Dominican Peace Initiative Award.

This award is presented every two years by the Caldwell Dominican Commission on Global Issues to a person who demonstrates outstanding courage, commitment and leadership in peace and justice work.

Lois was chosen this year in recognition of her untiring efforts since 1999 to eliminate the death penalty in the state of New Jersey. She is a founding member of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP), and currently serves on the Executive Board of NJADP and is their Media Relations and Public Information Officer.

In presenting the award, Sister de Montfort, Justice Promoter and chairperson of the Commission on Global Issues, thanked Lois for the support and expertise she contributed to the Congregation’s Corporate Stance against the Death Penalty.

This 2002 document states: “The Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, NJ are committed to support the abolition of the death penalty. We join with Pope John Paul II and the U.S. Bishops, and many other religious groups in calling for an end to this kind of punishment for violent crimes. At the same time, we reach out in compassion to victims of violence and their families. We are mindful also of the other members of the community suffering from the offenders’ crimes.”

Mrs. Seeligsohn, who lives in Collingswood, NJ has a strong personal commitment to work for peace, justice and human rights on a global and local level, and especially in nearby Camden, New Jersey’s poorest city. Her opposition to killing of any kind is the driving force behind her inspiration and modeling for her six children and nine grandchildren that it is their responsibility to right a wrong when they see it.

In accepting her award, Lois acknowledged that her networking as a Dominican Associate made it possible for her to empower many persons to join in successful lobbying to influence passage of the bill in the New Jersey Legislature that mandated a moratorium on capital punishment and established a blue-ribbon Death Penalty Study Commission to focus on the option of life sentence without parole.

She reflected on the fruitless effort “to achieve justice or to avenge the wrong” that has led to the practice of “killing the killers” through capital punishment. Mrs. Seeligsohn thanked the Sisters and Associates who have joined with her in the struggle to get the recent bill passed in the state legislature and encouraged all who were present to continue their efforts to convince the Study Commission to replace New Jersey’s death penalty with the sentence of life without parole.


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