Throughout time and across all cultures, a knot has been used to symbolize tension and struggle. The undoing of a knot symbolizes freedom from these burdens - a release of pressure. In the tradition of Mary, Undoer of Knots, Pope Francis' favorite artwork, visitors of the grotto will be able to add or remove knots, symbolizing their personal struggles and sharing the burdens of others.


Grotto (outside the Cathedral Chapel) highlights homelessness and Mary as ‘untier of knots’

Project HOME, the Philadelphia organization serving homeless people in the city, has been collecting the pieces of cloth on which petitions are written throughout the Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., regions.


People write their own petitions (knots) and tie them to the others. Then, they untie one knot (petition) and hang it in the grotto to promise to pray for that person’s intentions.