African undoer of knots wants to give courage in counselling centre

From Malawi's capital Lilongwe to Mannheim

The “Marriage, Family and Life Counselling” of the Catholic parish of Mannheim advises people in special life situations.

As a church counselling centre, the counselling – which is open to all people – is based on a Christian view of humanity: “Every person, with all their contradictions, strengths and weaknesses, possibilities and limitations, is wanted by God and can therefore trust that they are accepted unconditionally in their uniqueness.”

For the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the advice centre, the employees framed a picture of the “African Mary Undoer of Knots”. The original was painted by Malawian artist Kappamula M.C. and hangs in the Chapel “Our Lady Undoer of Knots” at the Pallottine Central Office House in the Malawian capital Lilongwe. The confreres in Malawi want to bring hope to the people. Mary, the Undoer of Knots, is a symbolic figure for this; her example is intended to give people new strength in their hopelessness and hardship.

„Our Lady Undoer of Knots“
„Our Lady Undoer of Knots“

The model for the world-famous miraculous image “Our Lady Undoer of Knots” dates back to 1700 and hangs in the small Catholic pilgrimage church “St. Peter am Perlach”, around eight kilometres as the crow flies from the Pallottine Provincialate in Germany. The historical original also shows the Madonna standing on a crescent moon, undoing knots in a long white ribbon and at the same time stepping on the head of a snake with her foot.

We Pallottines are delighted that the staff at the counselling centre also feel addressed by the African version of the knot-loosener. The image fits really well in a counselling centre, because there, too, “contradictions, ambivalences, unbearable and at first glance hopeless” are endured together and those seeking advice can discover strengths and opportunities for development in order to be able to untie the knots in their own lives themselves.

Text: Josef Eberhard
Quotes: Marriage, family and life counselling Mannheim
Photos: Manfred Uhl (framed picture – counselling centre), Br. Bert Meyer (photo of the painting in Lilongwe)


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