The Silent Apparition

Yesterday I went with my sister and mother to Knock Shrine which is our National Shrine and my own favourite Marian Shrine.  In 1879 Our Lady appeared there along with St. Joseph, St. John, the Lamb of God, on the altar with the Cross and the Angels surrounding it. Our country was very poor at that time having just come out of the famine.  The apparition came as a sign of hope to those who witnessed it and to the whole country.  It was a silent apparition, where no words were spoken.  Today the Shrine is still a most powerful place of grace and of prayer.  So many Masses are celebrated there each day and so many prayers offered up to Heaven.  So many healings took place at the Shrine as is evident from the crutches and sticks left at the gable wall where the apparition took place.

It is good to contemplate on the apparition.  The Lamb was central to the apparition, representing of course Jesus and the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.  St. John appeared with the Gospel open, with a Bishop's mitre and his hand raised.  St. John the Evangelist is also the author of the Book of Revelation which is significant for the end of time.   The Angels appeared around the Altar and the Lamb and the Cross giving glory to God.  St. Joseph appeared praying and with his head slightly bowed down.  Our Lady appeared with her hands raised and looking up to Heaven.   Sometimes living in the same country we can take for granted this amazing event that took place and forget to contemplate its meaning.   The importance of the Mass, the Scriptures, the Priesthood, the Rosary, the Cross, the presence and reality of the Angels, the sanctity of the Family and silent prayer are all embedded in this apparition.  The fact that nothing was said perhaps means that everything was already said through what the witnesses saw....

At about 8 o'clock on Thursday evening the 21st August, 1879, Our Lady, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist appeared at the South gable of the Church at Knock. Our Lady wore a large white cloak, fastened at the neck. Her hands and eyes were raised towards heaven, in a posture of prayer. On her head was a brilliant crown and where the crown fitted the brow, was a beautiful rose. On her right was St Joseph, head bowed and turned slightly towards her as if paying her his respects. He wore white robes. On our Lady's left was St John the Evangelist, dressed as a bishop, with a book in his left hand and right hand raised as if preaching. His robes were also white. Beside the figures and a little to the right in the centre of the gable was a large plain altar. On the altar stood a lamb, facing the West and behind the lamb a large cross stood upright. Angels hovered around the lamb for the duration of the Apparition. There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition which was enveloped in a heavenly light. They included men, women and children of various ages. They watched the apparition for two hours, in the pouring rain and recited the Rosary. It was so real that an old lady, Brigid Trench, went up to the gable and tried to kiss the feet of Our Lady.

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