"A smaller statue of the Blessed Mother, fondly called “Sweetheart,” was brought to New Orleans by one of the Sisters from the monastery of Pont S. Esprit in France. In celebration of 275 years of the Ursulines in New Orleans, the statue has been cleaned and moved from the Ursuline Academy museum to a special place in the Shrine. Scarcely twelve inches high, the little plastered statue was destined for disposal when Sister Felicite found it in her convent attic in France in 1785. Pained to see this image of Our Lady so carelessly cast aside, Sr. Felicite fell to her knees and prayed. “My good Mother, if you will take away promptly the obstacles that stand in the way of our departure, I will carry you to New Orleans, and I promise to have you honored there by every means in my power.” Within a month her petition was granted and “Sweetheart” accompanied Sr. Felicite to the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans.
Though diminuitive in size, “Sweetheart” has been credited with many spectacular miracles. It was through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor that the city of New Orleans was spared when a devastating fire threatened the French Quarter and the Ursuline Convent.
Sister Eugenia O’Laughlin’s account of the devastating fire illustrates the rapid response of Our Lady. “Hastily the Superior, Reverend Mother St. Michel, commanded the nuns and school children to leave the building. As she herself turned to go, she was horrified to see Sister St. Anthony, one of the old nuns, climbing the stairs. Following her, Rev. Mother discovered she was carrying the small statue of Our Lady. As the Superior watched, Sr. St. Anthony hurried to the window on the second floor. She set the statue on the sill facing the fire, then knelt and prayed with great confidence: Oh Lady of Prompt Succor, save us or we are lost. At that very instant the wind veered and the flames were blown back over their path of destruction and soon died out.”
Since then, this small statue has had a place of honor in the Ursuline convents in New Orleans. It now stands in a small prayer room in the Shrine.
During both World War I and World War II, soldiers who were husbands, fathers, brothers and sons of Ursuline alumnae brought their ribbons and medals to “Sweetheart” in thanks for their safe return. This early image of Our Lady of Prompt Succor is a vital part of the rich tradition of the Patroness of our city and our state.
The New Battle of New Orleans
This year we celebrated 200 years of the victory of the Battle of New Orleans! The British were defeated by the good people of New Orleans, Louisiana when Andrew Jackson called for prayer in aid to fight the well trained British soldiers. While all the men were fighting the battle, the women gathered with the Ursuline sisters to pray before the statue of Our Lady of "Prompt Succor" ( Means Quick Help.) There were many odds against them but after winning the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson publicly acknowledged that the American victory was won by heavenly intervention. This was the Victory and the miracle of New Orleans! Again Our Lady interceded when the fire broke out in New Orleans and threatened the city and the Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter. One of the sisters place a smaller statue of Our Lady call the "Sweet Heart Statue" in the window seal knelt and prayed with great confidence,
" Oh Lady of Prompt Succor, save us or we are lost. At that very instant the wind veered and the flames were blown back over their path of destruction and soon died out.” During World War I and II many prayed to the sweet heart statue and helped bring many soldiers home safely. Of course during hurricane season in Louisiana, many of the faithful pray to Our Lady for protection from the storm! She is also the patroness of Louisiana!
So today, we fight a different and new battle in New Orleans! Approximately 1/2 mile from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Planned Parenthood is building a 7,000 square ft. center on Claiborne Ave. Planned Parenthood, the nations largest abortion provider, recently stated that New Orleans needs 2844 abortions a year! Ben Clapper, director of Louisiana Right to Life stated that the money that that number represents is approximately over a million dollars a year!
Planned Parenthood's bold statement should be ringing in your ears and begging the question, "Why do we, in New Orleans, Louisiana need to take 2844 innocent, babies lives per year! The bottom line is that Planned Parenthood does not really care about women's health with a statement like that. They care more about the money that is generated from the 2844 lives of our children of Louisiana!
To put those numbers in perspective. The Battle of New Orleans there were 304 deaths and, according to Planned Parenthood they need 2844 deaths.
The sad truth is that the 2844 number will probably grow much worse if Planned Parenthood builds their center on Claiborne Ave.
So what should we do to stop this place of death? We should stand up and do several things. Do what Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans asked all businesses to boycott this facility. This has helped tremendously because when Planned Parenthood broke ground in Spring of 2013 they promised to have their doors opened by now but little as been done because of the boycott. Also, educate others about the facts of what Planned Parenthood intends to do. Most importantly, we should ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor as we did in the battle of New Orleans! Remember Our Lady of Prompt succor means quick help! She is our victory! She is our help and trust in Our Lord!
PRAYERS TO OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR
Patroness of the State of Louisiana
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, You are after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised You high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, You are strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, You are our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then to our help, and as You once saved Your beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of You. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.
O Mary, mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of Your Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life You may be our succor, and obtain for us (here ask the particular favor you desire). Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, Your Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
LUCIEN J. CAILLOUET, P.A.