Haiti: Six abducted nuns released in Port-au-Prince

By Salvatore Cernuzio and Deborah Castellano Lubov

The six sisters of the Congregation of Saint Anne who were kidnapped on 19 January in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, have been released.

The two laypeople – reportedly their bus driver and a niece of one of the nun – were also released.

Unidentified armed men had stopped the bus on which they were travelling, demanding a ransom of 3.5 million dollars, according to local media reports.

The President of Haiti’s Bishops Conference, Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor, confirmed their release to Vatican Media.

Archbishop Mésidor expressed his joy at the news and thanked all those who had paid attention and offered support in this situation.

“We give thanks to God! Thank you for your support,” he said.

Papal appeal, Local Church’s prayers

Pope Francis, during his Sunday Angelus, made a heartfelt appeal for the release of the six nuns.

The Pope said he had learned “with sorrow” of the kidnapping.

“In my heartfelt plea for their release,” he said, “I pray for social concord in the country, and I invite everyone to bring an end to the violence, which is causing a great deal of suffering to that dear population.”

On Wednesday, the Catholic Church in Haiti organised a day of prayer, meditation, and Eucharistic Adoration for the religious sisters and all the kidnapped people.

Bishop Dumas: ‘We cried out to God’

Meanwhile, the Vice-President of Haiti’s Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-à-Veau-Miragoâne, also gave thanks for the release of the eight who had been abducted.

“This traumatic event,” he wrote, “has once again put our faith to the test, but it remains unshakable.”

“We cried out to God,” the Bishop said. “He made us strong in our trials and brought our captives back to freedom.”

Speaking to Vatican Radio recently, Bishop Dumas said he wished to offer himself as a hostage in exchange for the nuns.

“Kidnapping women who dedicate their lives to saving the poor and the young,” he said, “is a gesture that will see God’s judgment.”