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Ireland's National Marian Shrine, Knock, County Mayo, Ireland
T: +353 (0) 94 9388100 E: info@knock-shrine.ie

Commissions of Enquiry

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On the 8th of October 1879, Archbishop MacHale of Tuam set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Apparition. The findings of the Commission were submitted to the Archbishop and concluded that: “The testimony of the witnesses, taken as a whole, was trustworthy and satisfactory”

The Commission consisted of Archdeacon Cavanagh, P.P. Knock, Very Rev. Canon Waldron, P.P. Ballyhaunis and Very Rev. Canon Bourke, P.P. Claremorris. With the assistance of six local curates, they examined fifteen witnesses and took a deposition from each. Fourteen witnesses gave their accounts in English, one in Irish.

Journalists visiting Knock in the years following the Apparition were impressed by the witnesses. P.C.D. Warren in his booklet published in 1880 wrote of them: “The persons who tell of those appearances and who solemnly declare the truth of what they assert, are numerous, respectable, and respected by their neighbours. Their answers are frank and civil, equally free from boldness and evasion, and their united testimonies constitute a mass of evidence which few impartial men will seek to discredit.”

In 1936 a second Commission of Enquiry was established by Most Rev. Dr. Gilmartin, Archbishop of Tuam. The two surviving witnesses living in Ireland, Mary O’ Connell (nee Byrne) and Patrick Byrne were examined. A special tribunal was set by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Hayes, to examine John Curry who was residing there.

Mary O’Connell
ended her sworn statement with the words ‘ I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God’. She died later that year.

Ireland's National Marian Shrine, County Mayo, Ireland T: +353 (0) 94 9388100 F: +353 (0) 94 9388295 Site by Aró

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