Mary Untier of Knots. Photo: Vatican Media

Pope Francis gives sculpture of Our Lady Untier of Knots to indigenous Canadians

It was during his pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne, a sacred place for both indigenous peoples and Canadian Catholics. The work is a prayer to the Virgin Mary to unblock the world’s problems.

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(ZENIT News / Edmonton, 26.07.2022).- Pope Francis blessed yesterday a sculpture of “Mary, Untier of Knots” during his apostolic visit to Canada. The work of the Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz is a gift for the indigenous peoples. The blessing took place yesterday afternoon after the Liturgy of the Word celebrated by the Supreme Pontiff during his pilgrimage to Lac Saint Anne in Alberta, Canada. 

Before the Pope arrived, Sioux Chief Tony Alexis explained the history of the lake. Then, members of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation shared traditional dances. Afterward, Francis prayed in front of Lac Ste. Anne and said: “How many hearts have come here with anxious longing, weighed down by the burdens of life, and found in these waters comfort and strength to go on”.

The sculpture “Mary, Untier of Knots” is an allegory of human difficulties, symbolized as knotted ribbons, which the Virgin unties and unties like a mother helping her children. Its author is known worldwide for his works “Homeless Jesus,” present in more than 140 cities around the world, and “Angels Unawares,” installed and blessed by Pope Francis in 2019 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. 

Schmalz indicated that “the sculpture shows Our Lady focused on untying the knots of the world. Just like Pope Francis, who is traveling the world to untie the knots of history”.

Lac Ste. Anne is the most important pilgrimage site for indigenous peoples and Catholics in Western Canada. The Nakota Sioux call it Wakamne, “Lake of God,” and the Cree, “Lake of the Spirit”.

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