Canadian nun predicted her captivity in Cameroon was coming to an end

A Canadian nun who was released after two months in captivity in Cameroon predicted on the weekend she and her two fellow prisoners would soon be set free.

MONTREAL — A Canadian nun who was released after two months in captivity in Cameroon predicted on the weekend she and her two fellow prisoners would soon be set free.

The head of her congregation in Montreal says Gilberte Bussiere told two Italian priests on Saturday they would all be allowed to go.

One day later, that very scenario unfolded and the three abductees were on a plane heading away from their captors, Josephine Badali, leader of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, told reporters in Montreal on Monday.

The details of their release were still unclear, but Bussiere was in good health and happy to be free, Badali said. And despite the fact the past two months were long and difficult for all involved, the happy ending is what matters, she added.

Bussiere, 74, Gianantonio Allegri and Giampaolo Marta were working as missionaries in Cameroon when they were kidnapped on April 5 from Tchere, in the country’s north.

“I spoke to Sister Gilberte this morning and her voice was strong and she was happy,” said Badali, surrounded by fellow congregation members. “She told me she had seen the doctor and, from what we know at the moment, her health is good.”

Bussiere, who is originally from Asbestos, Que., was in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, and was to meet with President Paul Biya on Monday.

The congregation hopes to have her back in Canada as soon as possible. Bussiere has been a member of the congregation since 1957.

Through Badali, she sent along her thanks for those who supported her and helped free her.

Badali said Bussiere offered just a few details about her time in captivity. The nun described it as a deep religious experience. The captives were housed together and they prayed and shared the word of God each day, giving each other comfort.

Saturday marked the Feast of the Visitation — an important Roman Catholic religious holiday that prompted Bussiere’s prediction of freedom. The captives requested some kind of protein and got their wish: spaghetti and beans.

Bussiere told Badali she shed the dress she’d been wearing for two months and that one of the sisters gave her a much-needed haircut.

“She’s a woman of faith and that came through in her voice,” Badali said of their conversation. “It didn’t sound like she was afraid — now she must have been — but from what she said, she was not afraid.”

Congregation members received the news while attending a religious conference on Sunday. The 300 people present stood and clapped.

“I jumped for joy, I called my colleagues, we were all jumping for joy,” Badali said. “It was just such a moment of joy and relief.”

Bussiere has lived in Cameroon since 1979 and worked with various missions. She has served as educator and school administrator. She returned to Canada briefly last year for health reasons, but soon went back.

Her family had expressed concerns about her not having access to medication in captivity.

But everyone kept the faith, including Bussiere’s 97-year-old mother, who told Badali a few weeks ago to remain hopeful.

“I can tell you from meeting her mother, the faith and courage and determination that I experienced from Sister Gilberte comes from her family,” Badali said. “It’s well-rooted in her family background.”

It’s unclear why Bussiere was targeted whereas others also present were left behind. Six hours before her kidnapping, Bussiere had sent an email saying the situation was becoming more dangerous and that two rival groups were at the root of the problem, Badali said.

Bussiere’s snatching is a first in the congregation’s history and will trigger serious reflection about their missions abroad. But Badali says the missionaries aren’t fearful.

“They don’t have concerns, to be quite honest, they’re not worried,” Badali said. “They are so much loved by the people, they’ve integrated so well, they’ve promoted education, they’ve worked with the people.

Just Posted

Shots fired in Riverside Meadows

Red Deer RCMP believe public not at risk

Royal close shave: Prince William opts for dramatic buzz cut

LONDON — The hair on the heir is no longer quite so… Continue reading

Border wall models thwart US commandos in tests

SAN DIEGO — Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President… Continue reading

Man charged in presumed deaths of two missing Toronto men set to appear in court

TORONTO — A man charged with first-degree murder in the presumed deaths… Continue reading

Nova Scotia ‘seriously considering’ banning plastic bags: environment minister

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s environment minister says he’s ”seriously considering” enacting a… Continue reading

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates in Red Deer

Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month