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83-year-old American nun kidnapped by jihadists

SISTER Suellen Tennyson

Marianites of Holy Cross | Facebook | Fair Use

Zelda Caldwell - published on 04/08/22

83-year-old Sister Suellen Tennyson, a resident of New Orleans, was serving as a pastoral minister in Burkina Faso at the time of her abduction.

An American nun was kidnapped from a convent in Burkina Faso where she was serving as a missionary.

Sister Suellen Tennyson, an 83-year-old nun from the congregation of the Marianites of the Holy Cross was abducted overnight between April 4 and 5. 

According to an Associated Press report, she was kidnapped by a group of about 10 unidentified armed men who also vandalized the convent where she lived with two other members of her congregation.

Sister Tennyson was taken “from her room in her pajamas — no shoes, no glasses, no phone, no medicine,” Sister Ann Lacour, U.S. congregational leader for the Marianites of Holy Cross in Covington, Louisiana, told The Associated Press. 

Prayers for her safe return

“Until the search for her is successful, we remain in communion of prayer for the release of Sr. Suellen Tennyson,” Bishop Theophile Nare of Kaya Diocese said.

Sister Tennyson, a native of New Orleans, had been in Burkina Faso since 2014, and was serving in Yalgo as a pastoral minister at time of her abduction. The intruders broke into the convent while the nuns were sleeping and Tennyson was the only one harmed.

Marianite congregational leader Sister Ann Lacour said, “We first and foremost are praying for Sr. Suellen’s safety and for her release from her captives. Let us pray too for all impacted by the actions of this group, particularly our sisters who witnessed the vandalism and kidnapping. We are in touch with governmental leaders who have pledged to keep us informed as they learn more.” 

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond joined in the appeal of the safe return of Sr. Suellen saying, “For many years, Sr. Suellen ministered to the people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with great joy. Today, we express our sadness and shock at her abduction and offer our prayers for her safe return. Please join me in praying for Sr. Suellen, the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross, and all who know and love her during this difficult time.” 

Violence in Burkina Faso 

Since 2010 Burkina Faso has been torn apart by Islamic terrorists. Groups associated with the Islamic State group and al-Quaeda have killed thousands and displaced about 2 million people.

In the last two weeks of March, as many as 40 members of the military have been killed by jihadist groups. A car bomb attack on Friday, April 8, left 16 security forces dead, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Sister Tennyson’s convent in Yalgo was located in an area in the north of Burkina Faso, where two attacks in November killed 70 people.

The jihadists operating in the region have been taking hostages and demanding ransom in order to fund their operations, reported the Associated Press. Twenty-eight foreigners have been kidnapped since 2015, and six, including two Americans are still being held captive.

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