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Abducted in Cameroon

Sr. Gilberte Bussiere; photo courtesy Congrégation Notre-Dame

Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Cameroon on April 5. The radical Islamist group Boko Haram from Nigeria is suspected. I don’t remember how I came across the story. Did I read it? Was it on the radio? But I know it registered. These were Catholic missionaries. Who were they? The news story didn’t say.

The setup, however, was  familiar. They had voluntarily put their lives at risk to help others, to do something good in the world, in imitation of Jesus. Now they were facing who knows what. Torture? Martyrdom? Certainly fear and violence. I felt a pang of anguish for them.

A few days later I received an email from a sister friend of mine. The religious who was kidnapped, Sr. Gilberte Bussière, is a member of her community. Sr. Gilberte entered religious life at age 17, and went to Cameroon in 1979, at age 40. I know something of this community, the Congregation of Notre Dame. The group was founded by St. Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1658. They are a practical and joyful lot, proud of their schools and missions and the international and multicultural character of their community in the present time. They are committed to “liberating education.” The event drew closer still as I learned that I know several sisters from her group. More details emerged. Her mother, very elderly, is still living. Several of their Cameroonian sisters also taught at the school there. These sisters were left unharmed. Only Sr. Gilberte and the two priests were taken.

My friend asked me to join their community in praying for her. And I ask you to join me in that prayer. Please pray also for the two priests, Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri. Please pray also for their captors, whose names we do not know.

About the Author

Rita Ferrone is the author of several books about liturgy, including Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium (Paulist Press).



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Sending my prayers their way.

May God protect the abducted and keep them safe and strong.

May God have mercy on their captors, whoever they may be, and enter into and change their hearts.


Rita, I am now praying for them.  Thanks for posting this.  Here is  Reuters story on the event.  According to that story:

The priests had been working on improving water supplies and fighting the spread of HIV Aids, as well as their religious duties

Thank you, Maria and Jim, for your posts!

I've seen a lot of incomplete and erroneous reports in the American press. The Canadian reports have been better. Here is a good one, in English, from The Catholic Register of Canada.

Notable quote:

"Boko Haram means 'Western education is sinful.'"

Boko Haram's latest appearance in the news is that they have abducted a group of teenage school girls.

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