Pope Francis turns to Mary, Undoer of Knots, at end of rosary marathon for end to pandemic

Pope Francis prays before the crowned image of Mary, Undoer of Knots, in the Vatican Gardens, May 31, 2021./ Screenshot from Vatican News YouTube channel.

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 rosary marked the conclusion of a worldwide prayer marathon that the pope launched on May 1 at St. Peter’s Basilica. On each day of the event, a different Catholic shrine around the world led the rosary.

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The first of the 30 shrines was Walsingham in England, followed by the shrine of Jesus the Savior and Mother Mary in Elele, Nigeria, the shrine of Jasna Góra in Poland, and the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Medjugorje’s shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace was the 15th shrine to lead the marathon.

The final rosary began with a solemn procession of the image of Mary, Undoer of Knots, in the Vatican Gardens. Bishop Bertram Johannes Meier of Augsburg led the procession, accompanied by Italian children who recently received their First Communion or the sacrament of Confirmation, as well as members of a scout group from Rome.

Pope Francis has promoted devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots, since he encountered the original image while studying in Germany, spreading it first in his native Argentina and, after his election, throughout the world.

The painting, by Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner, is located at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg, southern Germany.

The image, completed in around 1700, shows Mary untying knots in a long white ribbon while her foot rests on the head of a snake curled in knots.


Several shrines around the world were connected live to the rosary in the Vatican Gardens, including the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Boulogne in Nanterre, France, Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho, Rwanda, and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Carfin, Scotland.

Each decade of the rosary began with a Bible reading, followed by a description of the intention.

The intentions included the rediscovery of the value of community life, relief from unemployment, an end to domestic violence, recovery from illness, and the resumption of daily pastoral ministry.

The Hail Marys were led by members of families, ranging from young children to the elderly.

At the end of the five decades, the pope affixed a crown to the image of Mary, Undoer of Knots.

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After the recitation of the Litany of Loreto, the pope prayed: “O Mary, you always give light on our path as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross were associated with the pain of Jesus, firmly keeping your faith.”

“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.”

After giving the final blessing, he thanked the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization for organizing the rosary marathon, expressing satisfaction at the wide participation in the event.

He encouraged Catholics to continue to pray for the protection of the whole world from the pandemic and access to vaccines for all.