07 June 2021, The Tablet

Rosary prayer marathon ends with Mary 'undoer of knots'

Rosary prayer marathon ends with Mary 'undoer of knots'

Mary, Undoer of Knots – the image pictured here is from the Church of Saint Anastasia in the Palatine district.
GoneWithTheWind / Alamy

Pope Francis and the Bishop of Augsburg, Bertram Meier, have led a special rosary to Mary Undoer of Knots in the Vatican Gardens.

Bishop Meier made the trip to Rome especially for the occasion bringing with him a copy of the original “Mary Undoer of Knots”, a Baroque painting from the pilgrimage church of St Peter am Perlach in Augsburg (Bavaria). The painting is a favourite of Francis’.

It was painted by Johann Georg Schmidtner (1625-1707) and shows the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on the crescent moon surrounded by angels, with the Holy Spirit hovering above her as she undoes the knots in a long, white ribbon. 

The prayer service in the Vatican Gardens concluded the month-long Marathon of Prayer for an end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the prayer service, Francis chose five special prayer intentions. He asked Our Lady to undo five special knots. 

The first knot was the loneliness, indifference and the many wounded relationships caused by the pandemic. 

The second knot was unemployment, especially the challenges for young people, women and fathers of families.

The third knot was that of violence, especially violence against women in the home often caused by domestic tensions which have increased so greatly during the current crisis.

In a fourth intention, the Pope prayed that scientific discoveries would become accessible to everyone – “especially to the weakest and the poorest”. 

And finally, the Pope prayed that Catholic communities would regain energy and take up new impulses, and that young people would have the opportunity to marry and have families. 

At the end of the prayer service, the Pope solemnly crowned the image of Mary Undoer of Knots. Bishop Meier will take the crown back to the church of St Peter am Perlach. 

Francis himself has never visited Augsburg and has therefore never seen the original painting of Mary Undoer of Knots. In the 1980’s, a Religious sister sent him a Christmas card of the painting, which immediately became one of his favourites. Pictures of the image hang in at least 8 churches in Argentina and, of course, in the Casa Santa Marta where the Pope lives in the Vatican. 

The original painting in St Peter’s in Augsburg has become a tourist magnet.



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