Sunday, September 25, 2016

52 Saints ~ Week 39 ~ Our Lady Undoer of Knots

My mother is very patient, especially with tedious tasks. When I was a girl, definitely less than 12 years old, I went to my mother one day with a big, tangled mess of yarn. I asked her would she please untangle it. I was lucky that she had nothing more important to do at that moment, so she patiently started to untangle the mess with her strong, long well-manicured nails. (Unfortunately, I did not inherit these). She patiently continued the untangling, and after about 30 minutes, had undone all the knots, and had wound the yarn into a fairly large, neat ball.

A few years ago, I needed to pray about a very difficult situation. Somehow I stumbled upon the devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. There was a novena for this.

As I prayed the first day of the novena, I remembered my mother and the tangle of yarn, and her great patience in its gradual transformation into a neat ball. It seemed that the Blessed Mother was quickly making progress with the knots in my life. On the second day of the novena, and again on the third, important events occurred to help begin the process of problem-solving. It's taken a few years to get to this point, where things are substantially better.

The Marian devotion entitled Mary Untier of Knots shares its name with a [400] year old painting depicting Our Lady untying the knots of a white wedding ribbon. This painting played a significant role in the history of Mary Undoer of Knots Devotion. A German nobleman, Wolfgang Langenmantel was distressed when he found his wife Sophia was planning to divorce him.

To save his marriage, Wolfgang sought counsel from the wise and pious Fr. Jakob Rem. Fr. Rem, a Jesuit priest, was known to have a strong devotion to Mary. Dedicated to his marriage Wolfgang brought Sophia to meet with Fr. Rem 4 times in 28 days. On their fourth visit on September 28, 1615, the Langenmantel’s brought their wedding ribbon. In this time period it was customary for the maid of honor to tie together the arms of the bride and groom. This uniting of arms with a ribbon symbolized their union for life.

Before an image of Our Lady of Snows, Fr. Rem took the white ribbon and untied the knots one by one. When he finished the ribbon became dazzling white. This was taken as confirmation that Mary had heard their prayers. Fortunately, the divorce was averted, and the Langenmatels remained happily married.”

Many years later, the couple's grandson donated a family altar, and he commissioned Johann Schmittdner to do a painting for it, and inspired by the story of the ribbon, he painted the Baroque painting ‘Mary Untier of Knots.’

The painting has survived wars and revolutions, and continues to draw people to it. Today the original still hangs over the family altar found at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany.”

For some more information about the symbolism in the painting, see here.

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us.

Louise LaMotte is a friend from Light on Dark Water. Since she lived in Australia at the time we met online, I never thought we would meet in person. I was wrong. She has written here about St. Mary of the CrossPope St. Pius X, Fr. Jacques Hamel,  and St. Damien of Molokai.

If you want to see all of the posts in this series, click HERE.

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