Friday, June 10, 2005

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Hasten to Help Us!

You may have heard of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, the patroness of the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana, whose protection we Louisianians invoke every hurricane season (which began last week) with the following prayer:

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, patroness of New Orleans,
Through your intercession may we be spared
All loss of life and property
This hurricane season. Amen.

Of course, we ask her protection this weekend as Tropical Storm Arlene makes its way to the Gulf Coast.

In January 1815, the British were getting ready to attack New Orleans during the War of 1812. The night before the battle, the city's Ursuline nuns led the city in prayer to Our Lady of Prompt Succor to protect the city and help the Americans (led by General Andrew Jackson) win the battle. The mother superior promised Our Lady that if the city was spared, every year the Ursulines would host a Mass of Thanksgiving in her honor. Our Lady came through, as usual, and the Americans handily defeated the British. Every year since, the Ursulines have fulfilled their promise and their annual January 8 Thanksgiving Mass is one of the great feasts in Louisiana.

And just to poke fun at our favorite Welsh priest, Fr. Gareth, Our Lady of Prompt Succor is another piece of evidence that Our Lord favors Americans over the British.

Hail Mary Queen of Heaven!
Hail Mary Mother dear:
In thee I find my Jesus, near thee I hold no fear.
Hail Mother of Prompt Succor, make haste, help me, thy child.
Hail Mother of Prompt Succor, make haste, help me, thy child.
Make haste, help me, thy child.