American nun kidnapped in West Africa, archdiocese of New Orleans says

(NEW ORLEANS) — An American nun was abducted from a parish in Yalgo, Burkina Faso, where she has been stationed as a missionary since 2014, according to the archdiocese of New Orleans.

The 83-year-old Sister Suellen Tennyson was abducted overnight on Monday and taken to an unknown destination by unidentified armed men, according to Bishop Theophile Nare.

The archdiocese of New Orleans said the kidnappers vandalized the convent where Tennyson lived before she was taken.

“We first and foremost are praying for Sr. Suellen’s safety and for her release from her captives. Let us pray too for all impacted by the actions of this group, particularly our sisters who witnessed the vandalism and kidnapping. We are in touch with governmental leaders who have pledged to keep us informed as they learn more,” Marianite congregational leader Sister Ann Lacour said.

Asked about Tennyson’s case, a spokesperson for the State Department told ABC News they are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in Burkina Faso.

The U.S. embassy in Ouagadougou is working “diligently” with local authorities on the case and monitoring the situation, they added – “ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

“Until the search for her is successful, we remain in communion of prayer for the release of Sr. Suellen Tennyson,” Nare said in a statement.

Suellen has strong ties to the New Orleans area having served here for many years prior to her work as a missionary, according to the archdiocese of New Orleans.

“For many years, Sr. Suellen ministered to the people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with great joy. Today, we express our sadness and shock at her abduction and offer our prayers for her safe return. Please join me in praying for Sr. Suellen, the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross, and all who know and love her during this difficult time,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.

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