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Eyewitness accounts of Our Lady of Knock


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Philip Kosloski - published on 08/21/21 - updated on 08/17/23

Read first-hand accounts of how Our Lady of Knock appeared on August 21, 1879.

Often when Our Lady appears to individuals in private revelations, she only reveals herself to a small number of people. In fact, most often she appears to 1 or 2 people at a time.

Yet, in Knock, Ireland, on August 21, 1879, the Virgin Mary appeared to a wide variety of people. Her appearance was very public and multiple people saw her on that miraculous night.

Anyone who saw the vision was interviewed and their eye-witness accounts were recorded in the book, The Apparitions and Miracles at Knock, published in 1880, less than a year after the original apparition.

Below are a few selections from that book, highlighting different accounts of the same remarkable event.

I am Patrick Hill. I live in Claremorris my aunt lives at Knock. I remember the 21st of August last; on that day I was drawing home turf or peat from the bog. While at my aunt’s at about 8 o clock in the evening, Dominick Beirne came into the house, he cried out, “Come up to the chapel and see the miraculous lights and the beautiful visions that are to be seen there” … together we ran over towards the chapel. When we running southwest came so far from the village, that on our turning the gable came in view we immediately beheld the lights, a clear white light covering most of the gable from the ground up to the window and higher. It was a kind of changing bright light going sometimes up high and again not so high. We saw the figures the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John and an altar with the Lamb on the altar and a cross behind the Lamb.

I distinctly beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary, life size standing about two feet or so above the ground clothed in white robes, which were fastened at the neck; her hands were raised to the height of the shoulders, as if in prayer with the palms facing one another, but slanting inwards towards the face the palms were not turned towards the people, but facing each other as I have described; she appeared to be praying her eyes were turned as I saw towards heaven; she wore a brilliant crown on her head and over the forehead where the crown fitted the brow a beautiful rose; the crown appeared brilliant and of a golden brightness of a deeper hue inclined to a mellow yellow than the striking whiteness of the robes she wore; the upper parts of the crown appeared to be a series of sparkles or glittering crosses.

I, Mary M Loughlin, live in Knock. I am housekeeper to the Rev Archdeacon Cavanagh. I remember the evening of the 21st of August at the hour of seven or so or a little later while it was yet bright day, I passed from the Rev the Archdeacon’s house on by the chapel towards the house of a Mrs Beirne widow. On passing by the chapel and at a little distance from it I saw a wonderful number of strange figures or appearances at the gable one like the Blessed Virgin Mary and one like St Joseph, another a bishop I saw and an altar.

I told Miss Beirne then to go for her uncle Bryan Beirne and her aunt Mrs Bryan Beirne or any of the neighbours whom she should see in order that they might witness the sight that they were then enjoying.

I am brother of Mary Beirne, who has given her evidence already. I live near the chapel of Knock; my age is twenty years. I beheld the three likenesses or figures that have been already described, the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph, St John, as my sister called the bishop who was like one preaching with his hands raised towards the shoulder and the fore finger and middle finger pointedly set, the other two fingers compressed by the thumb in his left he held a book, he was so turned that he looked half towards the altar and half towards the people; the eyes of the images could be seen they were like figures, inasmuch as they did not speak. I was filled with wonder at the sight I saw. I was so affected that I shed tears. I continued looking on for fully an hour and then I went away to visit Mrs Campbell, who was in a dying state, when we returned the Vision had disappeared.

Many other eye-witness accounts add various details, but all are remarkably in unison with another, whether they were old or young. All saw the miraculous vision and their lives were changed by the experience.

MiraclesVirgin Mary
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