An insight into sculpture of vision at Knock

Dear Editor, I was in Rome in 1960 when Archbishop Walsh of Tuam contacted Msgr Dominic Conway, Spiritual Director at the Irish College, to arrange for a new set of statues for the Shrine at Knock. It was an exciting challenge and I was delighted to join him on a trip to Carrara in the north of Italy, which was home to the finest of marble. There we chose a very special block for carving the statue of the Virgin. It had come from the quarry which Michelangelo had used for his much acclaimed sculpture of David. It did of course cost a king’s ransom but the handmaids at Knock at the time declared that nothing was too good for Our Lady!

So far so good. Now was the time to choose a sculptor. We were clear that the image of Mary would not mirror that of Lourdes and Fatima, but that it would reflect what the visionaries at Knock had described. It was a major test for the sculptor. Professor Lorenzo Ferri was inspired to read the image of the Mother of Jesus as a reflection of that of her Son on the Shroud of Turin. He explained that as Jesus did not have a human father he would have taken his appearance totally from his mother. What an insight!

Yours etc.,

Msgr Denis O’Callaghan,

Mallow, Co. Cork.