Today is the feast of Our Lady of Knock. Here is the testimony of one of the witnesses:
Mary Byrne – Testimony of Apparition –1st Commission of Enquiry, 1879
‘I live in the village of Knock, to the east side of the chapel. Mary McLoughlin came on the evening of the 21st August to my house at about half past seven o’clock. She remained some little time.
I came back with her as she was returning homewards. It was either eight o’clock or a quarter to eight at the time. It was still bright. I had not heard from Miss McLoughlin about the vision which she had seen just before that.
The first I learned of it was on coming at the time just named from my mother’s house in company with Miss Mary McLoughlin, and at the distance of three hundred yards or so from the church. I beheld, all at once, standing out from the gable, and rather to the west of it, three figures which, on more attentive inspection, appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. That of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, the others apparently either not so big or not so high as her figure.
They stood a little distance out from the gable wall and, as well as I could judge, a foot and a half or two feet from the ground.
The Virgin stood erect, with eyes raised to heaven, her hands elevated to the shoulders or a little higher, the palms inclined slightly towards the shoulders or bosom. She wore a large cloak of a white colour, hanging in full folds and somewhat loosely around her shoulders, and fastened to the neck. She wore a crown on the head, rather a large crown, and it appeared to me somewhat yellower than the dress or robes worn by Our Blessed Lady.
In the figure of St. Joseph the head was slightly bent, and inclined towards the Blessed Virgin, as if paying her respect. It represented the saint as somewhat aged, with grey whiskers and greyish hair.
The third figure appeared to be that of St. John the Evangelist. I do not know, only I thought so, except the fact that at one time I saw a statue at the chapel of Lecanvey, near Westport, Co. Mayo, very much resembling the figure which stood now before me in group with St. Joseph and Our Blessed Lady, which I beheld on this occasion.
He held the Book of Gospels, or the Mass Book, open in his left hand, while he stood slightly turned on the left side towards the altar that was over a little from him. I must remark that the statue which I had formerly seen at Lecanvey chapel had no mitre on its head, while the figure which now beheld had one, not a high mitre, but a short set kind of one. The statue at Lecanvey had a book in his left hand, and the fingers of the right hand raised. The figure before me on this present occasion of which I am speaking had a book in the left hand, as I stated, and the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised, as if he were speaking, and impressing some point forcibly on an audience. It was this coincidence of figure and pose that made me surmise, for it is only an opinion, that the third figure was that of St. John, the beloved disciple of Our Lord, but I am not in any way sure what saint or character the figure represented. I said, as I now expressed, that it was St. John the Evangelist, and then all the others present said what I stated.
The altar was under the window, which is in the gable and a little to the west near the centre, or a little beyond it. Towards this altar St. John, as I shall call the figure, was looking, while he stood at the Gospel side of the said altar, which his right arm inclined at an angle outwardly, towards the Blessed Virgin. The altar appeared to be like the altars in use in the Catholic Church, large and full-sized. It had no linens, no candles, nor any special ornamentations; it was only a plain altar.
Above the altar and resting on it was a lamb and around it I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body.
I remained from a quarter past eight to half past nine o’clock. At the time it was raining.’
MARY BYRNE -TESTIMONY OF APPARITION – 2ND COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY, 1936
Mary was eighty-six at the time of the second Commission of Enquiry. She was interviewed by the commissioners in her bedroom, as she was too ill to leave. She gave her final testimony and concluded with the words:
‘I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God’
Mary died six weeks later.