Wednesday, January 08, 2014

...Hasten to Help Us!

If you grew up in New Orleans, I don't have to tell you what day it is...or what the invocation is that today's post title corresponds to. It's one of the most Old World of devotions still to be practiced in the continental U.S. of A. and dates back to a promise made by a French nun over 200 years ago.

That's probably not the reason the devotion is still so strong, though. That would be what happened on January 8, 1815 when the city, only a dozen years after it had become an American territory (one in which the dominant language was still--and would remain for almost another 100 years--French) was caught between two warring forces: its own newly adopted (but poorly equipped) Americans and the British, still fighting the War of 1812 (which, unbeknownst to the combatants, was actually over).

The devout people of New Orleans spent the night of January 7 in vigil before Our Lady's shrine at the Old Ursuline Convent. The Mother Superior went so far as to vow that if the Americans won, a Mass of Thanksgiving would be celebrated every year.

That Mass is being celebrated for the 199th time today by the Archbishop of New Orleans in the  "new" shrine (consecrated in 1928).

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Hasten to Help Us!
The statue in its home, the National Shrine of O. L. of Prompt Succor, New Orleans
My connections to the shrine, besides a lot of invocations during Hurricane Season? It's located in the chapel of the Ursuline Academy (former Brescia College, my Mom's alma mater), where I and two of my sisters went to school for three years. Two of my sisters were married in the chapel, too!

So celebrate Our Lady's Day (in New Orleans, it's considered a solemnity) today--how about some King Cake?

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