We have seen how Fr. Jakob Rem experienced the presence of Our Lady of the Snows. He wanted to devote a portrait to Our Mother of Good Counsel. However, the artist, Johann Melchior Schmidtner was inspired to produce a painting of Mary untying the knots in a white ribbon. This painting still survives in Augsberg, Germany in the church of St. Peter am Perlach. For centuries, this was little known in Europe or America. This title of Mary began to spread after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 1986. The first chapel dedicated to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots in in Styria, Austria.
However, the strongest boost in the devotion to “Maria Knotenlöserin” came from a young Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, while he was doing doctoral work in Freiberg during the 1980’s. He found a deep devotion to the aspect of Mary. He took postcards back to Argentina and had paintings hung in chapels and churches to spread this devotion. In 2005 Cardinal Bergoglio had an image of Mary Undoer of Knots inscribed on a chalice and presented to Pope Benedict XVI.
So taken with this manifestation of Mary is our Pope that he composed his own prayer to her:
“Holy Mary, full of God’s presence during the day of your life, you accepted with full humility the Father’s will, and the devil was never capable of tying you up with his confusion.
Once with your Son you interceded for our difficulties, and full of kindness and patience, you gave us example of how to untie the knots in our life.
By remaining forever Our Mother, you put in order and make more clear the ties that link us to the Lord.
Holy Mother, Mother of God and our Mother, to you who untie with a motherly heart the knots of our life, we pray to you to receive in your hands (the name of the person), and to free him/her of the knots and confusion with which our enemy attacks.
Through your grace, your intercession and your example deliver us from all evil, Our Lady, and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God, so that we, free from sin and error, may find Him in all things, may have our hearts placed in Him, and may serve Him always in our brothers and sisters. Amen.”
Last year, according to CNA,Pope Francis asked on Monday for the intercession of Mary, Undoer of Knots, as he ended a month-long global rosary marathon.
The pope led the recitation of the rosary in a breezy Vatican Gardens May 31 before an image of the Virgin Mary untying knots brought from Augsburg, Germany.
The pope introduced the rosary standing before the image.
“During this month of May with many of the faithful we joined in prayer with various shrines scattered throughout the world and dedicated to you, O Mary our Holy Mother,” he said.
“We have asked you to intercede for us with your Son Jesus. Every day, holding in our hands the crown of the holy rosary, we have turned our eyes to you, Mother of Mercy, begging that the pandemic may end and humanity may resume its daily life with greater security.”
“Tonight 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.”
He continued: “By your obedience, you have untied the knot of disobedience of Eve’s disobedience; by your faith, you untied what Eve had tied with her unbelief.”
“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.”
The first aspect of her faith is this: Mary's faith unties the knot of sin (cf. Lumen Gentium, 56). What does that mean? The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council took up a phrase of Saint Irenaeus, who states that "the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith" (Adversus Haereses, III, 22, 4). But we know one thing: nothing is impossible for God's mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by his grace. And Mary, whose "yes" opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy
Most recently, Timothy Schmalz., a Canadian-born sculptor, who has taken the messages of Francis' papacy and chiseled them into permanent form. A year ago this week, Schmalz was putting the final touches on a new work inspired by one of Pope Francis' favorite devotions to Mary: Undoer of Knots.
When Schmalz heard that the pope was planning to visit his home country, he approached the Canadian bishops with images of his new bronze sculpture. Those images were sent to the Vatican and, according to Schmalz, it was Francis who said he wanted to give it as a permanent gift to the Indigenous peoples of Canada during his visit. Schmalz told NCR that in his view, there's no better symbol for the current tightrope Pope Francis is walking in trying to right historical wrongs by apologizing to the Indigenous peoples in Canada for abuses at Catholic Church-run residential schools.
In Schmalz's bronze sculpture, Mary stands behind a globe, untying a chain of knots around the world.
The wonderful devotion to Mary, Untier of Knots is growing worldwide. She promises to untie the knots of our lives, and free us from them, before they become an insufferable burden. Her love knows no bounds and no knot is beyond her power. Ask her for help when life, with all its conflicting problems, is hindering your growth as a person and a Christian.
Her Feast Day is September 28.