The Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor

The Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor


Many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Two historical events are especially associated with the Virgin. The first occurred in 1812 during the eruption of a great fire in New Orleans devastating the Vieux CarrĂ©. The Ursuline convent was facing imminent destruction as the winds blew the terrible fire toward the Plaza de Armas. An order was given to evacuate the convent, however at that moment, a nun named Sr. St. Anthony (Marthe Delatre, daughter of Antoine Delatre) 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 few buildings spared from destruction.

The Ursuline Convent, Chartres Street. Circa 1902

Why January 8th:

The second major miracle occurred in 1815, three years after the disastrous fire. General Andrew Jackson‘s 6,000 American troops faced 15,000 British soldiers on the plains of Chalmette. On the eve of the Battle of New Orleans, New Orleans residents joined the Ursuline sisters at their convent in the French Quarter to pray throughout the night, imploring the help of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. 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. Cannon fire could be heard from the chapel. 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. They had become confused by a fog and wandered into a swamp. The Mass ended with the singing of the Te Deum. An annual Mass of Thanksgiving has been held January 8 ever since.

Today New Orleans, Louisiana and all the U.S. celebrate the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt  Succor