August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans is my home town, and I've got a great many relatives there. My chief concern is my sister and brother-in-law, my two nieces and nephews-in-law, and my great-nephew, Luke, who is only three months old. I think they're all as safe as anybody can be there now, and they're in a huge Hilton Hotel downtown. They have four dogs, a cat, and a baby, and they're going to be just fine. I just talked to my sister and my niece, and they have several rooms.

In his last post, Nathan mentioned Our Lady of Prompt Succor in relation to the hurricane. I don't think Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Our Lady of Quick Help) is that well known outside of south Louisiana, but she should be. She's the patron saint of New Orleans. That's the Blessed Virgin Mary, of course, just under a slightly different title than most know.

She was introduced to New Orleans is 1810 by the Ursuline Sisters. The Ursulines had been in New Orleans since 1727, when they founded their school. That school is still very much in existence, by the way, and doing very well. Ursuline Academy in New Orleans is 278 years old. The Catholic high school I went to is only 136 years old, so we're kind of an upstart by the standards of the Ursulines. I wonder how many other Catholic high schools or colleges can match either of those longevity records.

Anyway, the Ursuline Sisters brought devotion to Our Lady of Prompt Succor to New Orleans, and it took off. Catholics in New Orleans have always stormed heaven with prayer in the name of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in time of war (the War of 1812 and the Civil War), and especially, and more frequently, in time of hurricanes. We say, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. And she does.

As Hurricane Katrina is about to attack the city of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, I can only say, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.