The silent apparition of the Virgin Mary and the rivers of healings and graces! Mary appeared with the two men who shared their homes during her time on earth.
On the north-west coast of Ireland is County Mayo, and within that green, lush county is what once was the parish church of Knock. Today the name of this place has been high; it is now known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, because it was here that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the night of 21 August 1879.
It was raining heavily that night when Mary McLoughlin, the housekeeper of the parish, looked out of the kitchen window and noticed a mysterious light illuminating the stone wall. Even through the pouring rain, the light was visible, and so there were three figures standing in front of the wall. Mary thought they were the replacement statues of those destroyed by a storm about a year ago. Rather scared, Mary ran through the rain to her friend Margaret Byrne’s house.
Mary stayed about half an hour and then decided to leave. Margaret’s sister, also named Mary, agreed to walk with her. As they passed the church, an incredible view was clearly visible to the two women. They were sure they were seeing the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and St. John. On the left of San Giovanni there was an altar and on the altar there was a lamb. Behind the altar there was a cross and on each side of the altar, but above were adoring angels.Mary Byrne ran home to tell her family.
The word spread quickly and soon 15 people knelt in the pouring rain praying the Rosary. They were between 6 and 75 years old, and even if they were soaked for the skin, not a drop of rain fell on the vision they were watching. Witnesses said that the Madonna was standing with her eyes turned to the sky and wearing a large white coat hanging in folds; on his head there was a large golden crown.
Unlike the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, La Salette and Fatima, where the Beautiful Lady spoke to the seers, Knock remained silent. Nothing has been said Not a pronounced word. All those present at the apparition saw the image and all attested the same to the unsaid word.
The next day a group of villagers went to the local priest and told him the story. The bishop set up a commission to interview the people who had witnessed the vision. The hierarchy was extremely doubtful that what they were hearing was true. They also considered the possibility that the local Protestant policeman had orchestrated a trick to ridicule Catholics.
The people, however, were not so skeptical, and in 1880 pilgrimages to Knock began. Two years later, none other than Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto visited the site and declared that he had been healed by the Virgin of Knock. It was a great approval.
Most of the witnesses died, but Mary Byrne married and raised six children while living her entire life at Knock. Interviewed again in 1936, when she was 86, her story was the same as it was in 1879.
The apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John in Knock transformed the tranquil village, thousands now came to commemorate the vision and seek healing from Our Lady.
In 1976 a new church was erected, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, which houses over 2,000 people. It needs to be expanded as more than half a million visitors come to Knock every year.
The investigations initiated by the local bishop and the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland formally approved the apparitions as deserving of devotion and Pope John Paul II sealed everything when, during his visit in 1979, he defined his stage as the ultimate goal of his pastoral visit to Ireland . Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.