On the rainy Thursday evening of August 21, 1879, Our Lady, St Joseph, and St John the Evangelist appeared in a blaze of Heavenly light at the south gable of Knock Parish Church, St John the Baptist. Behind the three heavenly figures and a little to the left of St John was a plain altar, on the altar stood a cross and a lamb with adoring angels. The apparition was seen by fifteen people whose ages ranged from six years to seventy-five and included men, women, teenagers and children.
Silent Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin
The poor humble witnesses distinctly beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary clothed in white robes with a brilliant crown on her head. Over the forehead where the crown fitted the brow, she wore a beautiful full-bloom golden rose. She was in an attitude of prayer with her eyes and hands raised towards Heaven. St Joseph stood on Our Lady's right. He was turned towards her in an attitude of respect. His robes were also white. St John stood on Our Lady's left. He was dressed in white vestments and resembled a bishop, with a small mitre. He appeared to be preaching and he held an open book in his left hand.
The witnesses watched the apparition in pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although the witnesses standing before the gable were drenched, no rain fell in the direction of the gable. They felt the ground carefully with their hands and it was perfectly dry as was the gable itself.
In 1957, the shrine was affiliated with the St Mary Major Basilica in Rome, and given special indulgences. In 1973, Paul VI blessed the first stone of the new shrine, consecrated by the Cardinal Primate of Ireland, Bishop Conway in 1976. The personal pilgrimage of Pope Saint John Paul II on September 30, 1979, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta's visit in June 1993 certainly increased the popularity of this holy place.
See official website: http://www.knock-shrine.ie/default.asp