Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our Lady of Prompt Succor: Jan. 15th.

On their arrival in New Orleans, December 30,18lO, the statue of the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor was solemnly installed in the Convent
Chapel of the Ursuline nuns , and from that time the homage and veneration offered to Mary under this title of "OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR" has been constant in the city of New Orleans and indeed throughout the who of the of Louisiana.

Two historical facts are especially worthy of notice here: the great fire in 1812, and the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Devotion to Our Lady of Prompt Succor was only beginning to be known in New Orleans when, in 1812, a terrible fire ravaged the city. The wind rapidly drove the flames toward the convent, and the danger being imminent an order was given to leave the convent. Just then, Sister Anthony placed a small statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on a window sill facing the fire, and Mother St. Michel prayed aloud: "Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost, unless you hasten to our help." Instantaneously, the wind changed, the convent and its neighborhood were out of danger, and the flames extinguished. Witnesses of this inexplicable incident cried out unanimously: "Our Lady of Prompt Succor has saved us!"

General Andrew Jackson's glorious victory over the British in the battle of New Orleans, fought on the plains of Chalmette on the 8th of January, 1815, is another signal favor rightly attributed to the all-powerful intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Before the combat, in order to obtain God's blessing upon the American forces, the weeping, terror-stricken wives, mothers, children, and sisters of Jackson's valiant little band spent the night of January 7th in prayer before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in the Ursuline Chapel. On the morning of January 8th, Very Rev. William Dubourg, Vicar General and, later, Bishop of New Orleans, offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the main altar, above which the statue had been placed, and the Ursulines, through their Prioress, Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, made the vow to have a Mass of Thanksgiving sung annually should the Americans be victorious. At the moment of Communion, a courier rushed into the chapel, announcing the glad tidings of the English defeat. After Mass Father Dubourg intoned the Te Deum, which was sung enthusiastically and with heartfelt gratitude. No one could reasonably doubt the miraculous intervention of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Jackson himself did not hesitate to admit of a Divine aid in his favor, and came in person to the convent, accompanied by his staff, to thank the nuns for their prayers on his behalf. The vow made by the
Ursulines has been faithfully kept ever since.

Rome has officially approved "DEVOTION TO OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR." On September 27, 1851, His Holiness, Pius IX, graciously authorized the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the singing of the yearly Mass of Thanksgiving on January the 8th with in the territory of the State of Louisiana.
A second feast is celebrated throughout the United States on the 15th of January.

The Holy See approved and confirmed the choice of Our Lady of Prompt Succor as the Principal Patroness of the City of New Orleans and of the State of Louisiana, conceding at the same time each and all of the liturgical privileges proper to the principal patrons of places.