Throughout much of your Europe, there are many shrines and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, here in the United States there isn’t as many. One of the great Marian devotions associated particularly with this country is today’s Marian feast – Our Lady of Prompt Succor. She is also celebrated on January 8.
In the year 1727, a group of Ursuline Nuns from France began a monastery and school in New Orleans. Mother Madier asked the Bishop for teachers, since teachers were short at the time in the city. Since he was also short-handed, he could not provide any help to the Ursuline Nuns. Mother Madier then decided to write to Pope Benedict XIII asking for help, but, he was a prisoner of Napoleon. She then prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and said that if she received help from Our Lady she would then honor her in the city of New Orleans under the title – Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
After one month of praying to Our Lady, Mother Madier received a letter from the Holy Father granting her request for more nuns to come to New Orleans. It should be noted that receiving news from Europe so quickly, even more rare from the Pope, was unheard of at this time and was considered miraculous. To fulfill the promise that she had made, Mother Madier commissioned a statue to be built with Our Lady holding the infant Jesus in our arms. Our Lady of Prompt Succor became the instant intercessory for not only the Ursulines, but the entire city of New Orleans.
Years later a fire threatened the Ursuline monastery. In hopes that the fire would not take the monastery, one of the sisters took the statue to a window and offered up this prayer – “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost if you do not come to our aid.” Quickly, the wind changed direction turning the fire away from the monastery. After this happened, it became tradition, even among today’s residents of New Orleans, that when a hurricane is bearing down upon the city, they pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor did not only help the Ursuline Monastery with the fire, but she is credited with assisting the American army with the War of 1812. In the final days of the war, New Orleans had British troops marching upon it for an epic battle. The future President of the United States, then, General Andrew Jackson asked for the Ursuline Nuns to pray for him as well as the city of New Orleans. He needed prayers since the American soldiers were outnumbered. The Mother superior at the time had the statue moved to the Chapel and with many people of the city, the Ursuline Nuns began to pray for Our Lady’s intercession. Just as the battle started, it had ended, and with only seven American soldiers dying. General Jackson state, “The divine providence of God through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor has shielded us and granted us this stupendous miracle.”
The first Catholic Church in Sulfur, Louisiana, was a mission of the Immaculate Conception for twelve years before it was named a parish in the 1919 – it was then dedicated to Our Lady under the title that miraculously saved the city multiple times over. On June 13, 1928, the Holy See approved and confirmed Our Lady of Prompt Succor as the Patroness of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. For nearly 100 years, the people having been praying to Our Lady’s intercession at the parish in Sulfur, Louisiana.
To visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, please click here. To ask for Our Lady’s intercession through this title, please visit this website. There is also the prayer against hurricanes.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor…Pray for Us