The painting of “Mary, Undoer of Knots” was painted in 1700 by Johann Melchior Schmidter as requested by Father Jerome Albroise von Langenmantel in memory of the miracle experienced by his grandparents almost a century before. Many reproductions of the painting have been made but the original is still in Father von Langenmantel’s church, Saint Peter am Perlack in Augsburg, Germany. The painting was the cause of the development of a strong Marian devotion in Germany and two centuries later in South America and then worldwide due to the diffusion of the image and a novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, future Pope Francis.
In the painting, the representation of Mary corresponds to the one in Saint John’s Apocalypse: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). Mary is depicted with:
In the painting, Mary is depicted working diligently to undo all of the knots of the ribbon. Her face and hands express tenderness and patience as she works while being attentive to all of our prayers. One can remark that her head is inclined: her right ear listens to God, while the left hears all of our supplications.
Above the Virgin Mary one can observe a white dove descending upon her. It is the Holy Spirit that accompanies her and reminds us that God has chosen her to be His mother as well as the mother of all mankind. The light coming forth from the dove that envelopes Mary reminds us that it is because of the Holy Spirit that the miracle is possible.
A troupe of angels surround the Blessed Virgin. The angels are beings of love and light that have received the mission to protect and accompany us in our spiritual lives. Here, they are collaborating with Mary. Two angels in particular surround Mary:
In the bottom part of the painting, a passage of the Old Testament is represented. The archangel Raphael is shown accompanying Tobie to meet his future wife Sara. This biblical story without a doubt has been chosen because it echoes the history of the origin of the miracle of Mary, Undoer of Knots. In both cases its about a couple and the necessary abandon into the arms of God, allowing Him to act, repare the sins and spread the graces.
The image of Mary, Undoer of Knots perfectly illustrates a meditation by Saint Irénée, a bishop in Lyon who was martyred in the second century. It compares Eve and Mary : “Eve, by her disobedience, made the knot of misfortune for humanity, while Mary by her obedience, undid it.”
With Hozana, you can discover hundreds of spiritual propositions that can help you learn to pray, nourish your prayer life or help you pray for a particular intention. You can also find many novenas dedicated to Mary who is ready to intercede for you at any time. For example, you can join My Month With Mary where everyday you receive a meditation on Mary, a reflection and a prayer, Pray a Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes or entrust your petitions to Our Lady of Fatima, who continues to transform hearts with this nine day novena.