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The Apparition at Knock, Ireland


The apparition at Knock, Ireland, took place in 1879, eight years after Pontmain in 1871. The apparitions are considerd to be broadly similar, in that they both took place in the evening, only lasted three hours or so, and in both, no words were spoken.

It was the evening of Thursday, August 21, 1879, two women from the small village of Knock, situated in north west of Ireland, Mary Beirne and Mary McLoughlin, were walking near the local Catholic Church, when they noticed what appeared to be luminous figures on the wall at the gable end.

As they got closer they realised that there were three moving figures, and one of them looked like the Blessed Virgin Mary. They surmised that the others were Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist, and as it got darker Mary Beirne went off to tell her family , and soon others joined them in the pouring rain.

As the crwod gathered, they could see an altar, with a young lamb on it in front of a cross. One boy saw angels over the altar, but they heard no sounds, and no verbal messge was heard.

The apparition lasted several hours and was witnessed independently, as a globe of light, by a farmer who lived about half a mile away.

The happening at Knock was investigated thoroughly, and it was proved that it could not have been done with luminous paint, or with a "magic lantern"

A Commission of Inquiry was set up by the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr McHale, but although it was considered that the witnesses were reliable and trustworthy and truthful, no definitive statement either for or against the apparition was made by the Archbishop.

However over time Knock gradually gained official support from the Church. In 1979, the Pope visited Knock. The symbolism of the lamb , cross and altar has been seen as pointing to the sacrificial death of Christ and the Mass, and yet these were behind Mary in the Knock apparition, suggesting that the focus was on her and her role as mediator.


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