As hurricane season starts, coastal Catholics call on this holy go-between for protection from devastating storms

Our Lady of Prompt Succor is a favorite intermediary of coastal Catholics during hurricane season.

(CNN)As Hurricane Matthew whipped up Florida's Atlantic coast in 2016, Beth Williby got scared.

"That hurricane, in particular, just got my back up," the Jacksonville mom of four recalled. "So, I did what any modern woman would do, and I Googled: Who do you pray to for protection from hurricanes?"
Her top result delivered the odd title of a special intermediary long known to Catholics across the Gulf Coast and beyond as the go-to gal for spiritual defense against wind-swept rain bands and storm surge floods.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor -- a phrase that means "quick help" -- is a version of the Virgin Mary known for delivering to her son, Jesus Christ, the prayers of those seeking "motherly care and consolation."
    "Through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor may we be spared damage to life and property during the hurricane season!" reads the page dedicated to the hurricane season, which begins Saturday, at the website of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
    With as many as four major hurricanes predicted this year, Our Lady's spiritual inbox soon is sure to be teeming. And there's little doubt a big swath of messages will arrive from Louisiana, a state over which she reigns as patroness and the principle setting of her backstory.

    'The miraculous shifting of winds'

    Lore holds that a French nun in 1803 hoped to join her cousin at the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans. But her local bishop, not wanting her to leave, insisted she get permission from the Pope, who was then a prisoner of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    The nun wrote to the Pontiff and prayed this before a statue of Mary: "If you obtain for me a prompt and favorable answer to this letter, I make the promise to have you honored in New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor."
    Mary draped in gold serves as an intercessor.