Marianite sister freed after five months of captivity
Marianite Sister Suellen Tennyson, who was kidnapped from the convent of her educational and medical mission in Yalgo, Burkina Faso, in early April, has been found alive and is safe after nearly five months of captivity, a congregational leader of the Marianites said Aug. 30. “She is safe,” Marianite Sister Ann Lacour said. “She is on American soil, but not in America. She is safe.” She said Sister Suellen was recovered Aug. 29 and the sisters in the congregation have spoken to her. “She eventually will get back to the United States,” she added. At least 10 armed men were involved in the attack in which Sister Suellen, 83, was abducted, the Marianites of Holy Cross said in an electronic newsletter at the time of the abduction.
CRS gets aid to first families devastated by floods
The initial aid from Catholic Relief Services in response to the devastating floods in Pakistan has gotten to families that need it most. About 2,300 families have received cash assistance from CRS, said Megan Gilbert, a CRS spokeswoman. The cash can help those families buy food and water and make repairs to flood-damaged homes, Gilbert said. CRS is working with the Pakistani government and local partners, including Caritas Pakistan, to meet the most urgent needs of the people impacted by the persistent heavy rains in the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan. The toll continues to climb. There were 1,191 confirmed dead as of Aug. 31 as a result of the flooding, and the number of Pakistanis who have lost their homes to the flooding is nearing 1 million. An estimated 2 million have been displaced, and one-third of the country’s territory is believed to be under water.
Bishops praise efforts to restart schooling disrupted by war
Ukrainian bishops welcomed efforts to restart classes for a new school year and offered church basements as emergency air raid shelters for children. “The Ukrainian authorities know education is vital for the country’s future, so everything is being done to get youngsters back to school, even while our soldiers are fighting at the front,” Auxiliary Bishop Jan Sobilo of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia told Catholic News Service Sept. 1. Classes restarted across Ukraine Sept. 1 after months of disruption caused by Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, amid warnings that children needed protection against shells and bombs.
Agencies join bishop’s call for passage of Afghan Adjustment Act
Two Catholic agencies have joined a call by the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration for passage of a bipartisan bill that would provide newly arrived Afghans the opportunity to become lawful permanent U.S. residents. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Catholic Charities USA said action on the Afghan Adjustment Act is needed to allow Afghans who arrived in the country in the year since the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan to rebuild their lives. Companion bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate would define the legal status of the 76,000 Afghans who arrived in the U.S. after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last August. They also would require President Joe Biden to establish an Interagency Task Force on Afghan Ally Strategy and increase support for those who assisted the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Court sides with archdiocese over teacher firing
The Indiana Supreme Court said the state could not interfere in a Catholic school’s firing of a teacher in a same-sex marriage because of the school’s religious freedom rights. The court, in its Aug. 31 ruling, sided with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in supporting Cathedral High School’s 2019 decision to fire Joshua Payne-Elliott, a social studies and world language teacher. The opinion in the court’s 4-0 decision, written by Judge Geoffrey G. Slaughter, emphasized that the “Constitution encompasses the right of religious institutions to decide for themselves, free from state interference, in matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” Payne-Elliott filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese for his firing, saying it went against his contract with the school. The firing took place after the Indianapolis Archdiocese mandated that all Catholic schools in the archdiocese enforce a morality clause that did not permit employees to be in same-sex marriages.
Number of Catholic institutions with union representation grows
The number of Catholic institutions where at least some of its employees have union representation has grown to more than 600, according to the annual “Gaudium et Spes Labor Report” issued Aug. 24 by the Catholic Labor Network. The number could be even greater, as most unionized Catholic workplaces have self-reported to the Catholic Labor Network, according to its executive director, Clayton Sinyai. Most of these workplaces are concentrated in the health care and education fields, according to the report.
Top photo: Sister Suellen Tennyson, 83, a U.S. member of the Marianites of the Holy Cross, is pictured in a 2007 photo. Sister Tennyson, a native of New Orleans, was kidnapped late April 4 or early April 5, 2022, after armed attackers broke into the convent on the parish compound in Yago, Burkina Faso. (CNS photo/Christine Bordelon, Clarion Herald)