Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 28 November |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Gregory III
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Who is Our Lady of Knock? The silent apparition

OUR LADY OF KNOCK

Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto SJ | CC BY 2.0

Larry Peterson - published on 06/16/18

Mary appeared with the two men who shared homes with her during her time on earth.

On the northwestern coast of Ireland sits County Mayo, and within that green, lush county lies what was once the Knock Parish Church. Today the name of this place has been elevated; it is now known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, for it was here that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the night of August 21, 1879.

That date is now the annual feast day of Our Lady of Knock.

It was pouring down rain that evening when Mary McLoughlin, the parish housekeeper, looked out the window of the kitchen and noticed a mysterious light illuminating the stone wall. Even through the pouring rain, the light was visible, and so were three figures standing in front of the wall. Mary thought they were the replacement statues for the ones destroyed by a storm a year or so earlier. Somewhat frightened, Mary ran through the rain to the home of her friend Margaret Byrne.

Mary stayed about a half hour and then decided to leave. Margaret’s sister, also named Mary, agreed to walk with her. As they passed the church, an amazing sight was clearly visible to the two women. They were sure they were seeing the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and St. John. To the left of St. John was an altar and on the altar was a lamb. Behind the altar was a cross and on each side of the altar but above it were adoring angels. Mary Byrne ran home to tell her family.

Word quickly spread and soon 15 people were kneeling in the pouring rain praying the Rosary. They ranged in ages from 6 to 75, and even though they were soaked to the skin, not a drop of rain fell on the vision they were watching. Witnesses said the Blessed Mother stood erect with her eyes toward heaven and that she wore a large white cloak hanging in folds; on her head was a large gold crown.

Unlike the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, La Salette, and Fatima where the Beautiful Lady spoke to the seers, at Knock she remained silent. Nothing was said. Not a word spoken. Everyone present at the apparition saw the image, and they all attested to the same thing about the unspoken word.

The next day a group of villagers went to the local priest and told him the story. He contacted the bishop of Tuam. The bishop set up a commission to interview the people who had witnessed the vision. The hierarchy was extremely doubtful that what they were hearing was true. They even considered the possibility that the local Protestant constable had orchestrated a hoax to make the Catholics look ridiculous.


ASSUMPTION OF MARY

Read more:
Doubting Thomas and the girdle of the Virgin Mary … and us

The people, however, were not so skeptical, and pilgrimages to Knock began in 1880. Two years later none other than Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto visited the site and claimed he had been healed by the Virgin of Knock. That was quite a lofty endorsement.

Most of the witnesses passed on but Mary Byrne married and raised six children while living her entire life in Knock. Interviewed again in 1936, when she was 86, her account was the same as it was back in 1879.

The appearance of Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John at Knock transformed the quiet village as thousands now came to commemorate the vision and ask for healing from Our Lady.

In 1976 a new church, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, was erected and it holds more than 2,000 people. It needs to be enlarged as more than half a million visitors come to Knock each year.

Inquiries set up by the local bishop and the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland formally approved the apparitions as worthy of devotion and Pope St. John Paul II sealed it all when, upon his visit in 1979, he called his stop the ultimate goal of his pastoral visit to Ireland. Pope Francis will visit the shrine this summer when he is in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.




Read more:
Padre Pio prayed this prayer to the Virgin Mary every first Saturday


EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE

Read more:
How a Eucharistic miracle is approved by the Church

Tags:
Virgin Mary
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.