6 nuns kidnapped in Haiti are freed days after pope calls for their release

 Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Six Catholic nuns from the Congregation of Saint Anne who were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last Friday, along with two other hostages, were freed Wednesday just days after Pope Francis called for their release.

"We give thanks to God! Thank you for your support," President of Haiti's Bishops Conference, Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor, said in a statement to Vatican Media confirming the release of the nuns along with their bus driver and a niece of one of the sisters.

It was unclear Friday whether a $3.5 ransom for their release was paid, but the release of the sisters reportedly came the same day the local Catholic church was marking a Day of Prayer for their release and just four days after Francis called for their release on Sunday morning.

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“I have learned with sorrow of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six religious sisters: in my heartfelt plea for their release, I pray for social concord in the country, and I invite everyone to bring an end to the violence,” the pontiff said in a statement on X Sunday.

In a statement to the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince also thanked God for the release of the sisters and insisted that the local Catholic church’s faith “remains unshakeable” despite the test of the “traumatic event.”

“With the community of the Sisters of Saint Anne and the Haitian Conference of Religious, the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince gives thanks to the Lord for the release of the six Sisters and the other people kidnapped with them on 19th January. This traumatic event once again tested our faith, but it remains unshakeable,” the statement began.

“God always hears the cries of the poor and frees the unfortunate from all his distress (cf. Psalm 33:6-7). We cried unto him, he made us strong in trial, and he set our captives free. He will convert hardened hearts and free Haiti from all evil so that all its children will know the joy of freedom, which is priceless. The Church remains committed to helping them bring about an era of justice and peace in Haiti.”

Last August, the Christian education ministry El Roi Haiti celebrated the release of their founder’s wife, Alix Dorsainvil, and daughter, whom armed gangsters abducted on July 27, 2023, when the State Department re-issued a Level 4 travel advisory for the country which remains in effect.

The advisory asks Americans not to travel to the Caribbean nation and directs all U.S. citizens and non-emergency government employees to leave as soon as possible.

"Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure. On July 27, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency U.S. government employees. U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible by commercial or other privately available transportation options, in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges," the advisory said. "U.S. citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and only do so when considered safe."

In response to the surging unrest and gang violence, the U.N. Security Council, at the request of the Haitian government, authorized the deployment of an international security mission in an attempt to help police manage crime and improve security.

At the time the decision was made, Haiti had already recorded 3,000 homicides in 2023 and more than 1,500 cases of kidnapping for ransom. Some 200,000 people were women and girls faced and increase in sexual violence and abuse from gang members.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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