When my mother was a little girl and learning to tie her shoes, the laces would sometimes become tangled. She would say to her grandfather “Unsix my knots, papa, unsix my knots!”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if unfixing the knots of our lives was that simple? When we entrust our troubles to Our Heavenly Father and Blessed Mother, miracles happen. These are some of the reasons why, in recent years, the devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots has become widespread.
1. Our Lady will turn your obstacles into stepping stones on the road to holiness.
“Whoever joins Mary in uniting oneself to Jesus, whoever approaches her in prayer, that person will be able to resolve his troubles and untie the knots of his life” (Dr. Bertram Meier). The Blessed Mother assuages our personal struggles and fears, carrying us in her womb until she gives birth to us in eternity. In the words of St. Louis de Montfort in his masterpiece True Devotion to Mary,
St. Augustine, surpassing himself, and going beyond all I have yet said, affirms that all the predestinate, in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, are in this world hidden in the womb of the most holy Virgin, where they are guarded, nourished, brought up and made to grow by that good Mother until she has brought them forth to glory after death, which is properly the day of their birth. (no. 33)
Our Lady will guide you on your path, even when it seems dark and confusing.
2. The Blessed Mother will heal woundedness in your marriage and family.
All of us have family divisions and struggles. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots wants to intercede for their remedy. St. Irenaeus wrote, “Eve, by her disobedience, tied a knot of disgrace for the human race; to the contrary, Mary, by her obedience, untied it.”
The painting of Mary, Untier of Knots has been located at St. Peter am Perlach Church in Augsburg, Germany since 1700. Baroque painter, Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner (1625-1705) is credited for this image, entitled “Wallfahrtsbild.” He was commissioned by Hieronymus A. Langenmantel (1641-1718) who wanted to express his gratitude for the mending of his uncle Wolfgang’s marriage. In September 1615, Wolfgang sought counsel from Fr. Jakob Rem, S.J. to avoid divorce. Fr. Rem asked for the ribbon that was used in the wedding ceremony for the tradition of tying the couple’s hands together, to symbolize the eternal union taking place. They prayed together four times, over a period of twenty-eight days, and asked Our Lady’s intercession. Then Fr. Rem held up the band in front of an image of Our Lady of Snows, shook it, and asked for her intercession with the words, “In this religious act, I raise the bonds of matrimony, to untie all knots and smoothen them.” The knot came undone, the ribbon became snowy white, and their marriage was healed.
3. Like a good mother, Our Lady will keep you in her mantle of protection.
“Mary Untier of the Knots is Our Lady who unties all problems in life, and frees us from the deceptions the Devil bounds us to.”Msgr. Eduardo Garcia, Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Our Lady, Undoer of Knots aids numerous people in overcoming addictions and finding healing from abuse or post-abortion trauma. She miraculously intercedes for the sick and the suffering, as well as those in need of conversion. Mother Mary helps individuals in difficulties with their finances, work, and in obtaining jobs. Additionally, many place themselves under her patronage, including government officials, business professionals, and Catholic groups. When we place our lives—and the lives of those we love—in her hands, she takes care of us, just like she did her Son.
There is rich symbolism in the magnificent painting of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. She appears like a Queen, dressed in a heavenly blue mantle. “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1) Surrounded by angels, Mary cannot hide her light; Jesus shines through her. The serpent is crushed by the Blessed Mother in the painting (Gen 3:15) to show her power in interceding for evil’s defeat. Mary assists us in overcoming our woundedness due to original sin and the role of concupiscence in our lives. She helps inculcate in us the virtues we need on the way to paradise.
At the bottom of the painting the Archangel Raphael and Tobias are depicted. Recalling the story of Raphael’s intercession for the young married couple in the face of danger, this reminds us of how Our Lady, Mother of grace and mercy, intercedes for married couples and families who are under attack. “Oh! how the demons tremble when they hear the name of Mary!” (St. Bernard)
4. Our Holy Father is greatly devoted to her.
While still a student studying in Germany, and experiencing difficulties in his life, Pope Francis discovered the painting of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. As Archbishop in Argentina, he promoted devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots by placing a picture of her in every letter that he sent. Pope Francis also chose this image for the front of the holy card printed for his Episcopal ordination. A few images of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots are displayed in Churches there and tens of thousands flock to venerate her each month. Many prayers and novenas may be found invoking her patronage. Our Holy Father has written several prayers asking the intercession of Mother Mary, such as the one below:
“You, who know how to untie the knots of our existence, and know the desires of our hearts, come to our aid. We are certain that, as in Cana of Galilee, you will ensure that joy and celebration will return to our homes after this time of trial.”
“Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus will tell us, who took upon Himself our sufferings and took upon Himself our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.” (Pope Francis, Vatican City, May 31, 2021)
5. She will intercede for our war-torn world.
Our Lady, Undoer of Knots has intervened for many people during conflicts in their communities or internationally. Especially in these times, it is imperative that we entrust ourselves to our Blessed Mother.
We gather before you, our Virgin Mother, venerated in this image as the one who unties knots. In fact, there are many knots that bind our lives and our activities. They are knots of selfishness and indifference, economic and social knots, knots of violence and war . . . We pray to you, Holy Mother, untie the knots that oppress us materially and spiritually, so that we may joyfully bear witness to your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.(Pope Francis, Vatican City, May 31, 2021)
My mother and I are currently making a novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots for peace in the Ukraine. May Our Lady, whose humble fiat changed the course of the world and shattered the bars of time, aid us once more in ushering in the reign of her Eucharistic Son.
image: Mary, Untier of Knots in Church of Saint Anastasia (Rome) / Vivida Photo PC / Shutterstock