Sunday, November 15, 2015

Old Ursuline Convent New Orleans...

With all the news from France I thought this might be a good time to tell a story about the Ursuline Sisters. They were nuns who came from France in 1727. Their mission and calling was to educate women as a means of establishing a more spiritual, civilized and just society, to care for the sick and to pray. Our last time in New Orleans we toured the convent, built in the French Quarter in 1745. 

In this location nuns twice prayed in 1788 and 1794 while fire swept the Quarter. Both times the fire did not jump the street to the monastery. 

I forget now which ones but some of these statues were brought from France with the original group of 14 nuns. 

If you recall your history the Church of England was formed when Henry VIII broke with Rome over a divorce.  During the war of 1812 as the Battle of New Orleans loomed the French Catholic population was concerned that a British victory would mean a sack of the city. Nothing like a war with some religious hard feelings mixed in.  A special Mass was said at the convent and at the moment of Transubstantiation a messenger burst in with news of the American victory by forces led by Andrew Jackson. 

This stair case is original from the 1740s. 

Courtyard Statues.
Next door to the convent is St. Mary's Italian Church known so because it was largely attended by the Italian Population of the Quarter. Parts of it were built in in 1727 and it was reconstructed in the 1850s. I think it is largely a wedding venue these days with maybe weekend Masses.   

Winding stair case in the church has what is believed to be the first use of the Fleur de Lis in New Orleans.

In 1823 the Nuns gave up the old convent to the Bishop and moved to a place in the 9th Ward. Around 1910 they gave this up to make room for some canal building and moved to a location on Nashville Ave. in uptown New Orleans and are still there today. That's a good thing because that 9th Ward location is where the levees broke during Katrina. 

 The Nuns continue to pray and do their work. Fire, flood and war are things we face today. We need all the prayer we can get. 


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