Are there knots in your life that seem impossible to untie? Turn to Mary, Undoer of Knots!

The devotion to Mary, Undoer (or Untier) of Knots is about 300 years old.

However, it became more widespread after Pope Francis promoted it in recent years.

Pope Francis said:

Through Mary, “All the knots of our heart, every knot of our conscience can be undone.”

Unlike many Marian devotions, the devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots emerged through Our Lady's intercession, rather than an apparition.

The Story Behind Mary, Undoer of Knots

German nobleman Wolfgang Langenmantel and his wife, Sophie, were on the brink of divorce. Wolfgang was very distraught, and he turned to Jesuit priest Father Jakob Rem for counseling.

The two prayed together to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Wolfgang’s marriage at every meeting.

During their last meeting on Sept. 28, 1615, Wolfgang gave Father Rem his wedding ribbon.

Wolfgang and Sophie tied each other together with this ribbon during their wedding ceremony as a symbol of unity.

Father Rem lifted the ribbon and placed it next to an image of Our Lady of the Snows. He asked Mary to “untie the knots” of Wolfgang’s marriage.

The ribbon then loosened, completely untied, and became extremely white.

After this occurred, Wolfgang and Sophie reconciled.

While this story describes how the painting originated, second-century bishop Saint Irenaeus also referred to Mary as an "untier."

“The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” - Saint Irenaeus

The Meaning of the Painting

Mary, Undoer of Knots / Public Domain

Wolfgang and Sophie’s grandson, Father Hieronymus Langenmantel, became a priest and requested a painting in memory of the story.

In the painting, Mary unties the knots of marriage. One angel gives her the knotted ribbon, while the other holds the unknotted side and presents it to us.

Mary also crushes Satan’s head, which represents her Immaculate Conception. The dove above her head symbolizes her spouse, the Holy Spirit.

At the bottom of the image, Saint Raphael the Archangel and Wolfgang walk towards a monastery.

Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner painted the Mary, Undoer of Knots image around 1700. It is on display at St. Peter am Perlach-Church in Augsburg, Bavaria in Germany.


There are several prayers to Mary, Undoer of Knots, including a novena and Pope Francis’ prayer. Pope Francis came to love this devotion after seeing it while studying in Germany in the 1980s.

Mary, Undoer of Knots’ Patronage

One can turn to the Blessed Mother for any “knot,” because “Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin.”

Although, this devotion particularly helps those with marriage or family problems, or even impossible cases.

“Nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by his grace. And Mary, whose ‘yes’ opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy.” - Pope Francis

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!

Share this post