Mary the Unknotter

Here’s a really beautiful Marian devotion I’ve never encountered before.

Once upon a time in Augsburg, a married couple was having troubles. The priest who married them thought about what to do. Remembering the ribbon he used to bind couples’ wrists together at weddings (underneath his stole), he thought of it now as being snarled, kinked, and knotted with anger and misunderstanding. And who better to unknot and smooth the ribbon than Mary? So he went with the couple, knelt to pray in front of a picture of Our Lady of Victory, and raised the marriage ribbon up, smoothing and untying it in an act of prayer.

The couple reconciled, and the story was told in the family. Many years later, to thank Mary, a priest family member commissioned a painting of Mary, as Our Lady of Victory, unknotting the ribbon with loving hands and hung it in the church he served, St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg, Germany. It became known as Maria als Knotenlöserin.

For perfectly obvious reasons, marital troubles soon became all knotty problems.

The image traveled throughout the world, becoming especially beloved in Argentina and Buenos Aires, where the Iglesia San Jose de Talar contains a picture of La Virgen Desatanudos, also known as La Desatadora — the Untier of Knots.

After Chernobyl didn’t kill everybody with fallout, one grateful soul built this beautiful chapel in Austria.

Her feast day is celebrated on September 28.

This is a pretty nifty devotion for us today, and since Augsburg is Dayton’s sister city, it’s a good one for me to know about. Also, Augsburg’s in Bavaria, so Our Lady might just be a great secret weapon for a certain Pope dealing with lots of tangles…. And after all, Untier is almost Uniter. :)

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1 Comment

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One response to “Mary the Unknotter

  1. Kate P

    Hey, Maureen, the Our Lady of Victory parish you linked is where my grandfather goes! That’s also the name of the parish he used to attend when he lived in northern NJ. My aunt still lives there and works for the parish. What a cool coincidence. On top of that, OLV is also going to be the name of the new parochial school resulting from the merger of my parish’s and another parish’s schools. Must be a popular title. Thanks for the info on “Mary the Unknotter”–I think many, many people could benefit from her intercession. Now that I know who she is, I hope I will!

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