On August 21st, 1879, Mary McLoughlin saw the outside southern wall of the Church in Knock Ireland bathed in mysterious light. In the light she could make out that there were three figures standing in it, but could not originally determine what they were, believing they were possibly statues destroyed in a storm. She ran through the increasing rain to Margaret Byrne's house and the two began to walk Mary back home.
As they passed the church, they could now clearly make out the figures. Standing by the wall was Saint Joseph, Saint John and the Virgin Mary. Mary stood with her eyes towards Heaven wearing a white cloak and a large crown upon her head. Behind them, and to the left of Saint John was an altar with a cross and lamb surrounded by adoring angels. Mary Bryrne ran home to gather her family, and soon a small crowd was gathered.
Saint Joseph stood at the Virgin Mary's right hand with his head bent forwards towards Mary. Saint John stood to the left of Mary, holding a book and wearing a long robe. Despite the pouring rain, the crowd stood for almost three hours. The ground where the figures stood did not get wet during this time. Farmers farther away would later tell officials they could see an extremely bright light coming from the direction of the church.
One witness, Patrick Hill would describe what he saw:
The figures were fully rounded, as if they had a body and life. They did not speak but, as we drew near, they retreated a little towards the wall.'
A later Commission of Inquiry would conclude
"The testimonies of all, taken as a whole, is trustworthy and satisfactory"
In 1945, Pope Pius XII blessed the banner of Knock from Rome
In 1960, Pope John XXIII presented a special candle to Knock
In 1974, the foundation stone of the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland at knock was blessed by Pope Paul VI
In 1979, Saint Pope John Paul II celebrated pass to commemorate the centenary of the apparition during a visit to Knock. He presented a candle and the Golden Rose to the shrine, knelt in prayer at the wall and established the shrine church as a basilica.
In 1993, Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited
In 2011, Ireland's National Eucharistic Congress was held in Knock with over 13,000 pilgrims attending
In 2018, Pope Francis visited Knock.