It is said, Mary McLoughin and Mary Beirne from the village of “Knock” in County Mayo, were to see an apparition on the 21st August 1879.
Close to the town’s church, they were to observe, the “Blessed Virgin Mary, St.Joseph and St.John the Evangelist, along with an altar, with a lamb and cross upon it, with several angels flying there about’s.” Other’s seeing the bright light, investigated and a total of fifteen people witnessed this apparition. Reports came in that people who visited “Knock Church” were being healed of their afflictions. By the end of 1880, some 300 people had been cured, as recorded in the diary of the parish priest.
As the news spread across the land, thousands descended upon “Knock” with their sick. Cures were happening every day, many disabled left their walking sticks and canes, walking away freely. People grabbed plaster from the church walls as a memory.
Towards the latter part of 1880, a statue of “Our Lady of Knock” was erected, in the place of the apparition … and so it became a place of pilgrimage.
The Church carried out investigations of the apparitions at “Knock” in 1879 and 1936. Witness statements left them in no doubt, that an apparition had taken place, and many have been healed, through faith.
Pope Pius XII blessed the Banner of Knock at St.Peter’s in 1945.
Pope John XXIII presented a special candle to “Knock” on Candlemas Day in 1960.
Pope Paul VI blessed the foundation stone for the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland on the 6th June 1974.
Pope John Paul II made a personnel pilgrimage to the shrine on 30th September 1979. He celebrated mass, and went on to establish the shrine as a “Basilica.” He presented to the shrine a candle and golden rose, and then knelt before the apparition wall in prayer.