On Oct. 13, Pope Francis welcomed the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima to St. Peter’s Square. Visibly overcome with emotion, he used the opportunity to promote his favorite Marian devotion, Our Lady Undoer of Knots. His remarks lifted this powerful devotion out of its obscurity and generated new interest worldwide.
It was in their native Brazil that Edson Bosetti and his wife, Rosana, discovered the devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. In 2001, a friend touted the novena’s power and urged the couple to visit the national sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady Undoer of Knots in Campinas, Brazil. The Bosettis felt so at home in the chapel they decided to dedicate themselves to promoting devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. In 2005, they moved to Toronto and have worked from a small distribution center there filling orders for novena booklets and other items. Edson Bosetti talks to Our Sunday Visitor about his family’s journey with Our Lady Undoer of Knots.
Our Sunday Visitor: Can you explain the symbolism of the image?
Edson Bosetti: In the image, Our Lady is untying the knots in a long ribbon. The ribbon is the ribbon of our life. On the one side, there are many knots, which represent the many problems we have and the sins that cause them. On the other side, there are no knots. This represents what happens when we turn our lives over to Our Lady. She unties all the knots.
OSV: How did the novena come to be?
Bosetti: In the late 1980s, a Brazilian named Denis Bourgerie and his wife, Suzel, discovered the image and devotion. They were so drawn to it that they built a chapel to Our Lady Undoer of Knots in Campinas, about 160 miles from São Paolo. They hung the image there and Suzel was so inspired by it that she wrote a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. Then things started to happen.
OSV: What happened?
Bosetti: At first the novena was just on paper, and the Bourgeries started to hand it out. More and more people wanted copies, and eventually it was made into a booklet and was translated into 19 languages. People started to experience graces from the novena, and the number of people coming to visit the chapel grew so that they had to put up a loudspeaker so people could gather outside for Mass and prayers.
They realized that they needed a new chapel. There was an empty piece of land in front of the chapel, but there also was a nightclub next to it. On Friday nights, there would be drinking and noise, and on Saturdays the chapel members would have to go out and pick up all the empty bottles, syringes and condoms that had been left. Denis and Suzel decided that something had to be done, and so they prayed the novena for this.
The nightclub’s business started to decline and finally it had to close down. The building was up for sale for seven years, but the chapel didn’t have enough money to buy it. Finally, the owner agreed to sell the property to the chapel for 20 percent of the asking price. ... That was a miracle.
With that deal, the chapel was able to renovate the nightclub and build the new sanctuary, which holds 3,000 people. But it keeps growing. Now, so many people come that they have to use the loudspeakers again for events. Our Lady opens doors more and more.
OSV: Besides the Bourgeries, who is behind this initiative?
Bosetti: In Brazil, things are organized by the Servants of Mary. In Toronto, we have become a lay movement registered with the Archdiocese of Toronto.
OSV: How did you end up in Toronto?
Bosetti: In 1992, I was transferred by my employer from Brazil to Canada. In 1998, we moved back to Brazil because we missed our family and the harsh winters were difficult for us. We wanted our daughters, who then were 3 and 8 years old, to know their family. But, in 2004, the economy got bad in Brazil and so on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, in 2005, we moved back to Canada, where we started our lives again.
OSV: What happened to your commitment to the Our Lady Undoer of Knots ministry?
Bosetti: Immediately we began working to make Our Lady Undoer of Knots better known in Canada. We built a website and began selling the booklets and other items on the Internet and it just kept growing. Then we became a registered lay movement.
OSV: How has your work grown?
Bosetti: We are reaching 200,000 booklets distributed since 2005. That comes to about 2,100 a month. We ship to countries all over the world with English speaking people — Australia, England, India, even to the Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand as well as the United States and Canada, of course.
We also distribute booklets through EWTN, Spirit Daily and other outlets.
OSV: What keeps you going with such a demanding schedule and the inevitable setbacks that come with it?
Bosetti: We do it for the love of Jesus Christ and his Mother. When we get tired or face a difficult situation, we direct our thoughts to the Passion of Our Lord and to Our Lady’s suffering during his Passion. We find great comfort in uniting our tears with Our Lady’s tears. Giving everything to our Lord and Our Lady gives meaning to our suffering. Without that we would suffer like animals.
Marge Fenelon writes from Wisconsin.