This Mexican city is famous for carefree vacations full of excesses. However, Cancun is much more... Very close by there is also a temple with one of Pope Francis' favorite devotions: the Virgin Untying Knots.

The original painting is located in Germany and dates from around 1700. It was made by the German Johann Georg Melchior Schmidtner, at the request of the grandson of a couple who claimed that the Virgin Mary had interceded to solve their grandparents' marital problems.

Colloquially, she has been called the Virgin Untying the Knots, since our Mother can be seen with a cord that is full of knots (symbolizing human problems and difficulties, now not only marital) trying to untangle them. She is surrounded by angels, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and is seen stepping on a serpent, which biblically represents evil and temptations.

Treasure of the Pope

Father Jorge Bergoglio met Our Lady Untied in the 1980s when he went to study in Germany. He liked her very much that she was an intermediary in the face of those marital and personal problems that seem to have no solution, those that really seem like knots, that the more one tries to untangle them, sometimes the tighter they get.

So much so that, when he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he ordered a copy of the painting and placed it in the church of San José Talar. Later, when he was elected Pope, he asked for another copy to be taken to the Vatican.

His devotion to this invocation of Mary is so great that he resorted to it in one of the most difficult moments of his pontificate: the pandemic. In front of the image of the Virgin Untied, Pope Francis closed the marathon prayer of the rosary for the end of Covid-19 that took place in May of this year.

In the midst of nature

Most likely it has been the Pope's devotion that has greatly collaborated in making the Virgen Desatanudos more widely known around the world. In 2015, Mexicans decided to build the first (and so far only) sanctuary for her. It is located in Quintana Roo, near Cancun, and is a rather simple and rustic construction, but very cozy and sentimental.

People go there for mass but above all to ask the Virgin to help them "untie" their problems and they write them on white ribbons that are hung all over the temple. There is also an area called the Plaza de los Agradecimientos, where the ribbons are painted in the most striking colors, as it is where people who have received favors from the Virgin (and can return to the sanctuary), show their gratitude.

"There are many churches here, but there was a need for a place suitable for prayer and meditation. People like to come here because it is an original experience in the middle of the jungle. The place mixes the traditional signs of faith with a welcoming environment where one can walk among nature," explains Father Luis Pablo Garza L.C., director of the sanctuary.

Pope Francis' prayer to the Virgin Desatanudos

O, Mary! You who know how to untie the
knots of our existence and know
the desires of our hearts, come
come to our aid. We are sure that,
as in Cana of Galilee, you will bring back
joy to our homes
after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to accept the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us,
who took upon himself our sufferings
to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
Amen.

Source: Aleteia