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Knots Made by Human Hands!

by Iconographer Charles Albanese

A Collection of Knots icons was commissioned with Charles Albanese, iconographer, during 2020. These are knots that many, if not all of us, are bound during our lives.

The Mary Undoer of Knots Shrine commissioned Charles Albanese (author of the Shrine's Pantocrator Dome and Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians) to write twelve icons of saints who best represent the knots lived and overcome thru virtue. The following are the twelve completed icons now hanging on the southern wall in the Nave of the Chapel.

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang (1834-1900)


Blessed Carlo Acutis (1991-2006)

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ASSISI, Italy (Catholic News Agency via CBCP News) — With the beatification of Carlo Acutis in Assisi Saturday, October 10th 2020, the Catholic Church now has its first “Blessed” who loved Super Mario, Pokémon, and above all the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. “To be always united with Jesus, this is my life program.” Carlo Acutis wrote at the age of seven. The young Italian computer whiz, who died of leukemia at the age of 15 offering his suffering for the pope and the Church, was beatified Oct. 10 in a Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Born in 1991, Acutis is the first millennial to be beatified by the Catholic Church. The teen who had an aptitude for computer programming is now one step away from canonization.

  “Since he was a child … he had his gaze turned to Jesus. Love for the Eucharist was the foundation that kept alive his relationship with God. He often said ‘The Eucharist is my highway to heaven,” Cardinal Agostino Vallini said in his homily for the beatification. Click here for an audio podcast about Carlo.

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  St. Katharine Drexel is the second American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. This amazing woman was an heiress to a large bequest who became a religious sister and a brilliant educator. Katharine grew up seeing her father pray for 30 minutes each evening. And every week, her stepmother opened their doors to house and care for the poor. The couple distributed food, clothing and provided rent assistance to those in need. The Drexels would seek out and visit women who were too afraid or too proud to approach the home in order to care for their needs in Christian charity. Though Katharine made her social debut in 1879, she never let her family's money adversely affect the way she lived her life and faith. She was an example of a Christian with a proper understanding that the goods of this earth are given for the common good.  Click here for more!

We have the remaining nine icons chosen to be on our Wall of Knots Made by Human Hands. We will have more about these wonderful saints of God in December of 2021. Please visit the chapel to see the beautiful iconography done by Charles Albanese. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CLICK EACH ICON AND THEN WHERE IT SAYS "LINK" TO READ MORE ABOUT THEIR STORY.


  “In the earliest days of the Church, Christians celebrated the manifestations of Christ in the world, the birth, the visit of the three Magi, and the baptism on January 6.  This replaced the winter solstice.  Instead of worshiping the sun, we worship Christ the Sun of Righteousness.  At the beginning of the 4th century, the solstice was brought forward to December 25th and the Church brought forward the birth of Jesus to that date by 354 A.D. in Rome.
   In the Western Church, Epiphany means the manifestation of Christ to the world.  Jesus was visited by the Magi who followed a star to find Him.  They represent the Gentiles.  Theophany is the word used in the Eastern Church because the baptism is the manifestation of God, of the Holy Trinity.  God the Father spoke, “This is by beloved son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed these words as true, as Jesus came up from the waters of the Jordan River.”

Our Lady of the Sign
Written by Fr. Peter Pearson

The Icon of Our Lady of the Sign (Greek: Panagia or Παναγία Ορωμένη or Παναγία Πλατυτέρα; Church Slavonic: Ikona Bozhey Materi "Znamenie"; Polish: Ikona Bogurodzicy "Znak") is the term for a particular type of icon of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), facing the viewer directly, depicted either full length or half, with her hands raised in the orans position, and with the image of the Child Jesus depicted within a round aureole upon her breast.


The icon depicts the Theotokos during the Annunciation at the moment of saying, "May it be done to me according to your word."(Luke 1:38). The image of the Christ child represents him at the moment of his conception in the womb of the Virgin. He is depicted not as a fetus, but rather vested in divine robes, and often holding a scroll, symbolic of his role as teacher. Sometimes his robes are gold or white, symbolizing divine glory; sometimes they are blue and red, symbolizing the two natures of Christ (see Christology). His face is depicted as that of an old man, indicating the Christian teaching that he was at one and the same time both a fully human infant and fully the eternal God, one of the Trinity. His right hand is raised in blessing.

The term Virgin of the Sign or Our Lady of the Sign is a reference to the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel". Such an image is often placed in the apse of the sanctuary of an Orthodox church above the Holy Table (altar).[2]

As with most Orthodox icons of Mary, the letters ΜΡ ΘΥ (short for ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ, "Mother of God") are usually placed on the upper left and right of the head of the Virgin Mary.

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This type of icon is also sometimes called the Platytéra (Greek: Πλατυτέρα, literally wider or more spacious); poetically, by containing the Creator of the Universe in her womb, Mary has become Platytera ton ouranon (Πλατυτέρα των Ουρανών): "More spacious than the heavens". The Platytéra is traditionally high above the iconostasis, and facing down the length of the nave of the church. 

St. Florian- Patron of Firefighters
by Iconographer Fr. Peter Pearson

The feast of St. Florian is celebrated May 4, coinciding with International Firefighter’s Day. Florian was a 3rd-century centurion in the Roman army. He lived in what is now Lower Austria at the time of the Roman Empire. He organized the army's firefighting brigade and personally trained an elite group of firefighters.

We venerate Saint Florian because he courageously confessed to his faith and did not hide the fact that he was a Christian.  At one point 40 of his friends were arrested for being Christians. Saint Florian did not just remain silent, but immediately rushed to the aid of his friends. He was taken prisoner himself and killed for his belief. 

Here Saint Florian is depicted as a officer of the Roman army - with lance, armor and the chariot wheel of a Centurion. 

The Paul Revere Bell was christened "Florian" on September 24th 2020 at the Shrine's consecration liturgy.


Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians
 By Iconographer Chuck Albanese

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