The Virgin and the Lion
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With the exception of Lourdes, Knock is possibly the most notable shrine arising from a vision in Europe during the nineteenth century. An adequate understanding of the visions at Knock cannot be arrived at without some consideration of the historical and economic backdrop to the events of 21 August 1879.
The Apparition of the Virgin Mary in Knock occurred at the same time in Ireland as the beginning of the Land War which is considered as important in Irish history as the revolution of 1879 is in French history because it led to the eventual overthrow of the Anglo-Irish Aristocracy.
Both the Apparition and the Land War began in County Mayo which was under the control of Archbishop John MacHale, referred to as the Patriarch of the West or as Daniel O'Connell named him, the lion of the fold of Judah because of his strong nationalist support. However by 1879, MacHale had distanced himself from the Fenian movement because of their brand of physical force nationalism
1879 was clearly a turning point in Irish history, it was the year of the last great potato famine and the year that would also mark the return of widespread support for the cause of Irish nationalism from the Irish Catholic church. Is there a link between events surrounding the Knock incident and this reunion?