Q: Can you tell me more about a painting of the Virgin Mary with a white cord full of knots?

 A: The motif or theme of the Knotenlöserin [a woman who loosens knots] is a very ancient one. It goes back to Irenaeus (died after 193). For Irenaeus, Eve was a type of Mary, a blueprint, if you want, as Adam was of Christ. The second is the one who unties or undoes what the first one did or knotted, the knot standing for an unfortunate situation, ultimately for evil, misfortune and sin that came over humankind. In this sense, Jesus Christ is the ultimate Knotenlöser.


In the same manner, "the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; for what Eve bound by her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith." [cf. (G. Jouassard, in BSFEM 12 (1954), 37-39)] Here is the reason why the untying is entrusted to the Immaculate Conception. She is the most uncomplicated person in the face of God, spontaneously open to his grace and therefore endowed with power over the knots of evil.

This explains the theological origin of this representation. The strictly iconographical origin seems to be recent, probably contemporary with the representation of Mary as Immaculate Conception, and most likely a product of baroque art.

The following prayer to Our Lady of the Knots was submitted by a The Mary Page reader:

"Beloved and most loved Virgin who unties knots, I ask your kind intercession–to pray for me to our Lord. He is the giver of all good things and all the treasures that I need. I ask you to illumine me and give me the light of your Love. Indicate the road I should follow at this time of discontent. Help me find the path that will make me progress and succeed so that I can resolve the difficulties that encompass me at this moment. I ask that all my efforts be guided by you toward the correct road. Amen."


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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Danielle Peters , was last modified Tuesday, 09/28/2010 13:53:29 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.