The six religious sisters abducted in Haiti last week were freed yesterday (24th January), Port-au-Prince Archdiocese has been confirmed. The Sisters of Saint Anne and their two companions were held captive for five days after being kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on Friday, 19th January while travelling in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
Port-au-Prince Archdiocese said in a statement sent to the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “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.
“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.”
The statement concluded: “May the Mother of God, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, intercede for the suffering people of Haiti, and may she keep us under her maternal protection.”
After the news of the abduction, Port-au-Prince Archdiocese and the Haitian Conference of Religious condemned the “heinous” act in a joint statement and called on the perpetrators “in the name of God” to release the captives. They also appealed to Haiti’s political leaders to “take the necessary measures to eradicate the scourges of kidnapping and violence by armed groups which are plunging the country into an increasingly confused and chaotic situation”.
Haitian Church leaders asked “priests, religious men and women and the lay faithful” to dedicate 24th January to praying for the captives to be freed. After confirming the release, Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor of Port-au-Prince said: “Let us give thanks to God. Thank you for your support!”
Killings and abductions of Church personnel have occurred in the country before. A religious Sister was shot dead in 2022, and five priests were kidnapped in 2022 and two in 2023, all of whom were later released.