Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Our Lady of Prompt Succor: Patroness of New Orleans
Many of you may not be familiar with the devotion to Our Lady of Prompt Succor. She is the principal patroness of the state of Louisiana, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the city of New Orleans. Her feast day is celebrated on January 8. Many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. The first occurred during the eruption of a great fire in New Orleans devastating the Vieux Carré. The Ursuline convent was facing imminent destruction as the winds blew the terrible fire toward Jackson Square. An order was given to evacuate the convent, however at that moment, a nun named Sr. Anthony placed a small statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on a window seat and Mother St. Michel began to pray aloud, "Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost unless you hasten to our aid!" Immediately, the wind shifted direction, blowing the flames away from the convent allowing for the fire to be extinguished. The Ursuline convent was one of the only buildings spared from destruction. Upon seeing the inexplicable occurrence, witnesses unanimously cried out, "Our Lady of Prompt Succor has saved us!"
The second major miracle occurred in 1815, three years after the disastrous fire. General Andrew Jackson was facing the British in the Battle of New Orleans. There were 15,000 British Troops against 6,000 American troops. It seemed as though the city of New Orleans was doomed. Knowing the terrible fate of the city of New Orleans the Ursuline nuns along with many faithful people of New Orleans gathered in the Ursuline chapel before the statue of Our Lady. They spent the night before the battle praying and crying before the holy statue, begging for the Virgin Mary's intercession. On the morning of January 8, the Very Rev. William Dubourg, Vicar General offered mass at the altar on which the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor had been placed. The Prioress of the Ursuline convent, Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, made a vow to have a Mass of Thanksgiving sung annually should the American forces win. At the very moment of communion, a courier ran into the chapel to inform all those present that the British had been defeated. General Jackson went to the convent himself to thank the nuns for their prayers: "By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained." The vow made by Mother Ste. Marie has been faithfully kept throughout the years.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, ever Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, you are most powerful against the enemy of our salvation. The divine promise of a Redeemer was announced right after the sin of our first parents; and you, through your Divine Son, crushed the serpent's head. Hasten, then, to our help and deliver us from the deceits of Satan. Intercede for us with Jesus that we may always accept God's graces and be found faithful to Him in our particular states of life. As you once saved our beloved City (New Orleans) from ravaging flames, and our Country from an invading army, have pity on us and obtain for us protection from hurricanes and all other disasters. (Silent pause for individual petitions.) Assist us in the many trials which beset our path through life. Watch over the Church and the Pope as they uphold with total fidelity the purity of faith and morals against unremitting opposition. Be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death, that we may gain everlasting life through the merits of Jesus Christ Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end. Amen. -prayer from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor
To learn more about this devotion please click here!