Shock and fear: Fellow sisters pray for abducted nun’s safe return

New Orleans native Sister Suellen Tennyson was reportedly abducted from a parish in Burkina Faso, Africa, where she had been stationed as a missionary.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:18 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Marianite Sister Suellen Tennyson, 83, has been abducted from a parish in Yalgo, Burkina Faso, Africa where she had been stationed as a missionary since 2014, according to officials with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Many across the globe and locally in the Greater New Orleans area are coming together in prayer for Sr. Suellen.

Sr. Tennyson attended high school at the former Academy of the Holy Angels. She served at the former St. Cecilia Catholic Church in the Marigny and at Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church. She also did work for the Archdiocese of New Orleans as the Vicor for Religious.

The Marianite sisterhood is in disbelief learning about her disappearance.

Sister Ann Lacour, the Marianite Congregational Leader currently stationed in France, said Sr. Tennyson was taken in the middle of the night on Tuesday, April 5, by 10 armed hijackers.

“In her night clothes. No shoes, no glasses, no medication, no phone. And she was blindfolded,” Sr. Lacour said.

Now she is working with investigators in Paris, Rome, and Burkina Faso.

“The U.S. Embassy of Burkina Faso calls us at least twice a day,” said Sr. Lacour. “They definitely want to keep this alive and want this to end as soon as possible.”

As do those who know her best; her family and friends back home in New Orleans, like Marianite Sister Marjorie Hebert.

“We’re doing our part to cooperate trusting that all of this is going to ultimately bring Suellen home safely. And home for Suellen right now is Burkina Faso,” said Sr. Hebert.

She said Sr. Tennyson lived in the Yalgo parish of Burkina Faso since 2014, serving as support to medical staff in the community. Those close to her describe Sr. Suellen as the face of compassion.

“That call to her was there. It came late in her Marianite vocation but that’s firm to her. So that’s her home,” she said. “When she left to go there back in 2014, she made it very clear to us that love her and cherish her friendship; ‘I’m gonna work there. I’ll die there. And I’ll be buried there.’”

Now they are carrying hope in their hearts -- hope that she is protected and hope that she is safe.

“We truly truly believe she will be found and we do believe. We’re holding on to that and God’s great grace she’ll be ok,” said Sr. Lacour.

The Marianite congregation believes in the power of prayer, and they are asking those who pray to pray for Sr. Suellen’s safety and release from her captives.

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