The Marian Minute – Our Lady of Prompt Succor

The devotion to Our Lady of “Quick Help” has its earliest roots in France with Ursuline sisters who wanted to transfer to an American convent in need of more nuns.  The sisters, Agathe Gensoul, known as Mother St. Michel, and Sophie Ricard asked the Bishop permission to transfer to the convent in New Orleans.  The Bishop declined their request because of the civil unrest in France at the time, saying that only the Pope could grant such a request.

Since the Pope was under house arrest at the time, as a prisoner of Napoleon, it seemed impossible that Mother St. Michel would be granted permission to go to America to help the sisters there.  This was unacceptable to her, so she prayed using a statue she had carved in preparation for her trip.  Her prayer was:
“O Most Holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain a prompt and favorable answer to my letter, I promise to have you honored in New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.”
Her prayer was heard when she found a way to send her request to Pope Pius XII and he responded quickly, giving her permission and his blessing to travel to America.  The Bishop was so surprised that he asked to bless this special statue.

Upon her arrival in New Orleans in 1810 the statue was given a place of honor, and devotion to Our Lady of Prompt Succor spread, and her generosity has been recorded in great and small favors.
On Good Friday in 1812, a raging fire broke out in New Orleans and caused destruction to the city.  Frightened residents of the neighborhood sought refuge in the convent and prayed fervently with the sisters that their homes would be spared.  Within minutes of the prayers, the wind changed direction and soon after, the fire lost its momentum and burned out, sparing the convent entirely.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.