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

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An 83-year-old missionary nun from Louisiana has been released nearly five months after she was kidnapped from her bed in the west African country of Burkina Faso.

“Yes, it is true! Sr. Suellen has been recovered!” the Marianites of Holy Cross wrote in a Facebook post. “She is now safe and in US custody.”

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

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

“We are grateful to 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 via Karen Swensen


The order’s U.S. congregational leader Sister Ann Lacour said in a statement Wednesday, “We are so thankful for the outpouring of prayer and emotion during the last five months. Sister Suellen is safe and in U.S. custody after going through FBI re-entry.”

A State Department spokesperson said that the U.S. was “pleased to confirm the release of a U.S. citizen in Niger who had been held hostage in West Africa, and to share that this individual will soon be reunited with loved ones,” but did not identify the citizen as Suellen.

Lacour said in April that Tennyson was kidnapped in the middle of the night April 4, in her pajamas and without her glasses or blood pressure medicine. Her kidnapping came at a time of escalating violence and jihadi attacks in Burkina Faso.

Niamey is about 160 miles west of Yalgo, the Burkina Faso town where Tennyson was living. She had worked in Burkina Faso since 2014.



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