Mother's Day will be celebrated in the UK on Sunday 19 March.

Many of our parishes traditionally hand out daffodils to the women in our lives on Mothering Sunday.

At St George's and Our Lady Queen of Peace parishes in Worcester a Mothering Sunday card (below) will be handed out which shows Mary, Untier of Knots, a painting dating back to c1700 which Pope Francis has special devotion for.

It is the 10th Mothering Sunday prayer card that the parishes have distributed.

Please feel free to share in your parish.

Let us pray to our Holy Mother, Mary, and give thanks for all the Mothers and women in our lives.


A Reflection by Deacon Paul O'Connor: Our Lady Untier of Knots

This Mothering Sunday, let us take an opportunity to reflect on an image of Our Lady that Pope Francis has particular devotion to. It is appropriate that we consider how she can help us in family life and especially for women in their vocation as mothers. How often do we seek Our Lady’s support to solve our problems? How many times has she brought us to Christ to solve them?

The image of Our Lady Untier of Knots was first painted about 1700 and remains in the parish of St Peter am Perlach in Augsburg in Bavaria. It shows Mary as the Immaculate Conception standing on the snake with a length of material held by two angels, with one angel feeding knots to Our Lady for her to untie and then pass on.

The first reference to Our Lady as the untier of knots comes from the second-century document, Adversus haereses, “Against Heresies,” written by St. Irenaeus of Lyons in which he draws a parallel between Eve and Mary. “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary”.

The image symbolises Our Lady’s unique position in our salvation. Her yes to God began a life of devotion, of service but also hardship. Mary’s willingness to sacrifice her dreams for the salvation of humanity compares with Eve’s sacrifice of humanity for her dreams. Mary’s willingness to devote herself to the will of God compares with Eve’s willingness to stray from the will of God. Mary’s life of service to her son brought humanity to salvation untying the knot that separated humanity from God from the Fall.

Her life was one of knots: her pre-marriage pregnancy threatened her marriage; her travel to Bethlehem threatened the life of her child and herself; Herod threatened her existence and the flight to Egypt threatened her ability to cope; her return to Nazareth would have been filled with snide comments; the death of her husband, Joseph would have made her vulnerable; Jesus remaining in the Temple in Jerusalem would have sent her nearly mad when her and Joseph could not find him in the caravan; the tumultuous response to Jesus’ ministry perplexed her; the backlash from the Pharisees would have made her distraught; the crucifixion could have destroyed her; and the resurrection and Ascension intrigued her. These were all great moments in her life where her and her family were impacted greatly with turmoil in her life. All moments where she could doubt the purpose of her life, re-examine why she said yes to God, find reason to be angry with God that seemingly used her for his own purposes.

But Mary lived on. With St John she was able to take all these things to her heart. She was able to begin to understand the message of Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation more clearly. She could appreciate properly the humanity and divinity of Jesus. She could come to terms with the reason for his rejection and sacrifice for the salvation of the world. She could untie the knots of her own life that would permit her to be assumed, body and soul into heaven.

Let her be the untier of our knots. On this day, when we pray for our mothers, when we celebrate with them if we are fortunate to do so, we remember the importance of mothers in our lives, the lives of our families and the life of the Church. Their devotion to God, to us and those around us and to the Church should be the subject of celebration and deep thanks.

But we must remember that, like Mary, those lives of service do not come knot-free. There is so much in the lives of mothers where problems are faced, often seemingly insurmountable, with love, with devotion and with service. Burdens are carried willingly for those around them. Mothers are the very image of Mary in the life of the Domestic Church that is family life.

On this day, as we give thanks for our mothers, let us pray a special prayer to Our Lady, Untier of Knots and ask her to intercede on behalf our mothers: may those aspects of their lives that they are carrying, often silently, be gently teased open by the Lord. May those aspects of their lives that are a burden be taken by Our Lady and offered at the feet of Jesus that our mothers may be released of them.

We also pray for ourselves. May the knotted ribbon of our lives be gently opened by Our Lord through the intercession of Our Lady.

Our Lady is the New Eve. Her devotion to her son points us towards him too. May the resolution of our problems bring us closer to Christ, but also inspire within us a greater appreciation of the life of Our Lady.

Our Lady, Untier of Knots, pray for us.