Our Lady of Prompt SuccorThe fact that there are many different manifestations of Marian devotion within Catholicism is no secret, but not many of them are indigenous to the United States. Louisiana, however, has supplied us with one – Our Lady of Prompt Succor (literally –“ quick help”).
The title “Our Lady of Prompt Succor” refers specifically to a statue housed in the Ursuline Academy and Convent in New Orleans at the National Shrine to Our Lady of Prompt Succor. The statue itself – of the Virgin holding the Christ child – was commissioned following the answered prayer of a nun who wanted to go to the Ursuline convent in New Orleans but was hindered by the French Revolution, which wasn’t exactly friendly toward the religious.
The statue was originally housed in the convent in the French Quarter, and here is where Louisiana’s devotion to Prompt Succor comes in.
During the Battle of New Orleans, the sisters asked for Our Lady of Prompt Succor’s intercession for a defeat of the British. The Americans won despite not having all that many fighting men, and General Andrew Jackson later thanked the sisters for their prayers. (The other side to this story is that the nuns took in the wounded British and tended their wounds.)
Another miracle attributed to Our Lady of Prompt Succor was that, when a great fire struck New Orleans, the order had come to evacuate the convent. One nun, however, placed a small statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on the windowsill and prayed, “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost unless you hasten to our aid!” The winds reportedly immediately shifted, blowing the fire away from Jackson square and saving what we now know as the French Quarter. Those present are reported to have taken up the cry, “Our Lady of Prompt Succor has saved us!”
Our Lady of Prompt Succor is considered the patroness of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans specifically. During hurricanes, the population of New Orleans especially seeks her intercession. You can see the official website for the shrine here.

(On an unrelated note, as a child I thought “Prompt Succor” sounded hilarious. I don’t know why, but hearing it said aloud always made me laugh.)

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