83-year-old Louisiana nun released 5 months after being kidnapped in Burkina Faso


An 83-year-old missionary nun from Louisiana was released almost five months ago after she was kidnapped from her bed in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

“Yes, it’s true! Sr. Suellen was found again!” wrote the Marianites of Holy Cross in a Facebook post. “She is now safe and in US custody.”

“We are so grateful for ALL the prayers and support over the past 5 months,” the Marianites added. “We ask you now to pray for Suellen’s complete renewal of body, mind and spirit.”

A letter to the Marianites of Holy Cross said Sister Suellen Tennyson was free and in US hands in Niger’s capital Niamey, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. The Marianites did not confirm their location in the Facebook post.

“We thank God for the safety of Sr. Suellen,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Suellen Tennyson and others in Burkina Faso
An undated photo of Sister Suellen Tennyson, left, and others in Burkina Faso.

Sr Ann Lacour on Karen Swensen

The Order’s US parish leader, Sister Ann Lacour, said in a statement on Wednesday: “We are so grateful for the outpouring of prayer and emotion over the past five months.

A State Department spokesman said the US was “pleased to confirm the release in Niger of a US citizen who was being held hostage in West Africa and to announce that that individual will soon be reunited with loved ones,” but said so not citizens as Suellen.

Lacour said in April that Tennyson was kidnapped in the middle of the night on April 4th in his pajamas and without glasses or blood pressure medication. Her kidnapping came at a time of escalating violence and jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso.

Niamey is about 160 miles west of Yalgo, the city in Burkina Faso where Tennyson lived. She has worked in Burkina Faso since 2014.

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