As visitors of Knock enter the quiet Catholic town in justified anticipation to enter the Pilgrimage area and bow before the Shrine, Irelandís history comes to mind as a reminiscent prelude of the experience some of the inhabitants of this beautiful town had on an August night some 130 years ago.
It was in the 5th century AD when St Patrick came to Ireland and along with a group of Christian missionaries spread Christianity through Ireland and replaced the Celtic religion. The people on the island embraced the new religion and held on to it as consolation for the hard times ahead. During the 9th century AD continuous Viking raids disturb the almost monastic life of the Irish people. Early in the 12th century, Richard de Care marks the beginning of around seven centuries of involvement of the English in Ireland.
In 1879, Knock was a small village of self-sufficient, hardworking farmers with a deep religious feeling and strong family values. On the night of August 21st, two women from the village were walking near the local church when they noticed three luminous figures moving around the church. As they got closer it seemed to them that one of the figures looked like Virgin Mary. They immediately made for their homes and notified their families and neighbours. Soon, a group of 15 people, men, women and children ranging in ages between six and seventy five watched under the pouring rain. For more than three hours as the night was getting darker, the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared. St Joseph was on her right while St John the Evangelist was on her left. Besides the Holy figures stood an Altar with a large cross and on the Altar stood a lamb. A young boy also witnessed adoring angels around the cross.
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