New Orleans, Louisiana: Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor
About Our Lady of Prompt Succor & the City of New Orleans:
The story of this shrine is an old one by U.S. standards, dating back to 1727, when Ursuline nuns established a school for girls here in the city. There are two major parts to the story of how Our Lady of Prompt Succor came to be honored here.
The first does involve the Ursuline Sisters, most of whom left for Cuba in 1803 during a time of crisis. This left only seven nuns in what was now a flourishing school, not enough to keep it in operation. Mother Superior, St. Andre Marier appealed to her cousin in France, who had fled to Montpelier during the persecutions of the French revolution and opened a girl’s school there, to come and help her.
However, the bishop in Montpelier refused permission for her to leave, since he was concerned that it would harm the school in Montpelier. He advised her that she would have to get permission directly from the Pope, a task that he assumed was impossible since at that tumultuous time the Pope was basically a prisoner of Napolean. She wrote to the Pope in the spring of 1809 with little hope that it would reach him. She was praying before a statue of the Blessed Mother one day and promised that she would honor her as “Our Lady of Prompt Succor” in New Orleans. As it turned out, the letter did reach the Pope and about one month later she received an answer that she was free to go to New Orleans arriving there with the statue in December, 1810. And it has been here ever since.
The second incident occurred during the War of 1812 between England and the United States in what became known as the Battle of New Orleans. On January 7, 1815 the vastly inferior U.S. forces under the command of Andrew Jackson launched a pre-emptive attack on the British forces that were planning to assault the city the next day. Many of the city’s residents joined the Ursuline Sisters for an all-night prayer vigil beseeching Our Lady to help with a victory, in return for which they would have a Mass sung every year in appreciation. As dawn broke, Mass was being said and communion distributed, when a messenger rushed in with the word that the British had been defeated and the city had been saved.
Our Lady of Prompt Succour is Patroness of New Orleans as well as the State of Louisiana. On January 8 of each year (Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor) Mass is celebrated by the Archbishop of New Orleans to commemorate the victory.
About the Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor:
The Shrine is open weekdays from 10:00 AM until about 40 minutes after the Mass at 5:00 PM. On weekends the Shrine is open only approximately 30-40 minutes before and after the Mass: 11:30 AM Saturday, 9:30 AM Sunday. Of course, you are always welcome to attend Mass.
There are strict requirements if you want to be married at the Shrine. It is limited to any elementary or high school graduate from Ursuline Academy, New Orleans, from Ursuline schools sponsored by Roman Union Ursulines, or relatives of Ursuline Sisters (i.e., nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, etc. if the related Sister agrees)
Traveling to the Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor:
The Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succour is located near the center of the city, on the property of the Ursiline Academy.
Address: 2635 State St, New Orleans, LA 70118
GPS coordinates: 29° 56′ 28.3776” N, 90° 6′ 48.9960” W
Tel: +1 (504) 866-0200 (Sacristy 8:00 a.m. to noon)
Click here for the official website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in New Orleans.