CNA Staff, Sep 28, 2023 / 04:00 am
Of the many devotions Pope Francis has promoted during his pontificate, perhaps none is better known than his devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots (also referred to as Our Lady, Untier of Knots), whose feast day is observed Sept. 28.
The devotion’s origins can be traced back to Augsburg, Germany, in 1612. Husband and wife Wolfgang Langenmantel and Sophia Rentz were on the verge of divorce, and Langenmantel sought help from Jesuit Father Jakob Rem. The priest took the ribbon from the couple’s wedding ritual, and together they prayed to Our Lady to untie the knots of their marital difficulties, asking for the Blessed Mother to smooth out the ribbon that had bound them together.
The divorce did not happen, and together the couple lived out their married life. Years later, to commemorate the turn of events, their grandson, Father Hieronymus Langenmantel of St. Peter’s Monastery in Augsburg, commissioned Johann Melchior Georg Schmidttner to paint “Untier of Knots” in about the year 1700. It is still housed in St. Peter’s Church in Augsburg today.
While it has been reported that Pope Francis encountered the painting while studying in Germany, the pope pointed out in a 2017 interview with German news outlet Zeit that he has never been to Augsburg. What happened, he explained in the interview, was that a nun whom he had met while in Germany sent him a card at Christmas with the image on it.