Mary Undoer of Knots – Painting or Prayer?

Have you heard of Mary Undoer of Knots? This is an expression for a prayer and a baroque painting. The painting became famous and the prayer began to spread quickly among people around the world only in the last twenty years.

Mary undoer of knots painting

The painter Johann Melchior Schmidtner painted an image in Germany in 1700 in which Mary unties the knots of a ribbon, probably of a »wedding ribbon« of a couple that managed to avoid divorce.

Mary Undoer of Knots prayerIn the lower part of the image, the archangel Raphael leads Tobias to his future wife Sarah. The image is in the church Sankt Peter am Perlach in Augsburg near Munich and it can still be seen today. The meaning of the image associated with marriage has been lost in the series of centuries, but it is very much alive in the local folk piety that retained the main message of the symbol. They named her »Maria Knottenlöserin«, which translated into English means » Mary, Undoer of Knots.


Pope Francis  promotes devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots

The image of Mary untying knots impressed Jorge Maria Bergoglio when he was traveling through Germany in 1984 who was then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, today Pope Francis. He took several copies of the painting with him to Argentina where the image of the Mother that helps us resolve everyday problems awakened strong folk worship.

»We bring all our problems to Mary, our ‘knots’, especially those affecting our family life. We know that her loving hands, full of motherly tenderness, will take care of us, « said Cardinal Bergoglio.

A copy of the original painted by Argentinian artist Ana de Betta Berti hangs in the church San José del Talar in Buenos Aires, Argentina since 8 December 1996. Every eight of the month thousands of believers pilgrim to this church. The feast Mary, Undoer of Knots is celebrated on 8 December.

In Argentina where the worship of Mary, Undoer of Knots first started and is the most spread also resulted in the formation of the novena.

Piety has spread across America in a few years and then in the rest of the world. Since then, people are turning to Mary with a new cry: Mary, Undoer of Knots. The life knot is a symbol that has a clear meaning for everybody, regardless of age, race or social status. The knot is our problem in life that can be loosened by Mary.

 Why pray to the Virgin Mary?

Many testimonies from around the world confirm that Mary truly is the Queen of Peace and with praying for her intercession we can find strength and the right path to the solution of our problems.

Some testimonies from the French newspaper France Catholique:

– »She helped with the reconciliation of my daughter and son. They didn’t speak to each other for more than 13 years since their brother died…«

– »The marriage of my son was in crisis and I was worried for his child. Someone told me about this prayer, my son, and his wife are together again. «
– »I received mercy so I could give birth to a healthy child despite my age. «
– »I prayed the novena all year long. When my fixed term contract expired I was regularly employed. Thank you for this job.«
– »I had a serious illness for fifteen years. Virgin Mary didn’t only heal me after this novena but inclined me with even greater confidence for the future. «

Here you can read more testimonies of novena prayers.

Areas of life, related to the testimonies

Testimonies of prayers of the novena and worshippers of Mary, Undoer of Knots show that Mary can help with solving problems and ‘loosens your knots’, no matter how ‘hard-strapped’ they are.

According to the testimonies collected, we can say that the main areas of life with which we turn to Mary are as follows:

  • Family:

-misunderstanding, intergenerational conflict,  divorce, abortion, involuntary single status, unforgivingness

  • Health:

-illness, physical or mental disability, depression, false feelings of guilt

  • Work:

-occupational tension, stress, unemployment

  • Housing issues, money:

-unpayable debts, social exclusion

  • Addiction:

-drugs, alcohol, horoscopes, superstition, games, pornography, satanic practices.

  • Studies

  • Restoring trust in God.

How to pray the novena?

  1. Make the sign of the cross.
  2. Say your prayer for repentance. Ask for forgiveness for your sins and awaken your strong will to confess your great sins.
  3. State your request.
  4. Say your prayer for the first three decades of the Rosary.
  5. Say your prayer for contemplation for every day of the novena separately.
  6. Say your prayer for the last two decades of the Rosary.
  7. Finish with the prayer to » Mary, Undoer of Knots «.
  8. Make the sign of the cross.

If you decided to pray the novena, click on this link.

Are you thinking about becoming a worshiper of Mary, Undoer of Knots? You can share questions, comments and especially any testimonies with us in the comments.





4 Replies to “Mary Undoer of Knots – Painting or Prayer?”

  1. I’ve bookmarked your site as I’m very much enjoying your articles and will be checking back shortly! The Tree of Life was especially interesting to me and you are correct, it does have different meaning for different people.
    I am also Catholic but sadly, I don’t read the bible as much as I probably should. The stories are actually very interesting if you take the time. I really appreciate your knowledge on all of this and I look forward to your future articles.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Chays,

      Thank you for reading my articles and commenting the post. Reading the Bible is a “week point” for almost all Catholics. I think the main reason is the fact that Catholicism has also other sources for spiritual growing: Tradition, Church’s fathers, Saints, Our Mother Mary… But the Scripture should be in the first place also among Catholics.

      God bless you


  2. This is a beautiful story and image that a think so many people can relate to. We all have knots in our lives, and we all need help with them. I’m Protestant, not Catholic, but only because I happened to be born in a Protestant home. There’s a lot about Catholic tradition that I admire and think we Protestants would do well to start taking more seriously. In particular, I’m drawn to how, in this post, you have such an orderly outline for how to pray a specific prayer. We Protestants today have this messed up idea that if you’re not completely making it up as you go along, it’s not genuine. For me, that method is downright unhelpful, and I find myself repeating the Our Father a lot, because that’s just about the only formal prayer outline we have.

    1. Thank you Shanna for stopping by. The division among Christians is so painful for me. I hope the ecumenical efforts will bear fruit one day.

      God bless you!


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