Devotion to Mary, Undoer Knots began over 300 years ago. Pope Francis spoke about while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and continues to promote it during his papacy. Pope Francis said:
Through Mary, “All the knots of our heart, every knot of our conscience can be undone.”
The story behind this particular title of Mary comes not as an apparition, but rather as a request for intercession.
In the early 1600s there was a German Nobleman Wolfgang Langenmantel and his wife, Sophie. they were having marital problems and were considering divorce. Wolfgang, being troubled and fearful of such a drastic action, went to a Jesuit priest Fr. Jakob Rem for advice.
During their counseling sessions, they prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Wolfgang’s marriage.
On September 28, 1615, the last time he was to meet with Fr. Rem, Wolfgang provided the priest with the ribbon used during his wedding ceremony to tie the couple together as a symbol of unity.
Fr. Rem took the ribbon, placed it on an image of Our Lady of the Snows, and asked Mary to “untie the knots” of Wolfgang’s marriage. The ribbon loosened and became completely untied and became brilliantly white.
The story does not end with the dissolution of their marriage. Rather, Wolfgang and Sophie reconciled after this happened. The knots that were untied by the Blessed Mother were the ones that creating the problems that were driving them apart.
Hieronymus Langenmantel, the grandson of Wolfgang and Sophie, became a priest and commissioned a painting to be done in memory of the story. The painting shows Mary untying the knots of marriage. In it, one angel gives her the knotted ribbon and another angel holds the unknotted side and presents it to the viewer.
This image also shows Mary crushing Satan’s head, as in the Immaculate Conception. There is also a dove above her head symbolizing the Holy Spirit. It also depicts St. Raphael the Archangel accompanying Wolfgang towards a monastery.
The image of Mary, Undoer of Knots, was painted by Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner about the year 1700. It is currently on display at St. Peter am Perlach-Church in Augsburg, Bavaria in Germany.