As the news spread, pilgrims by the thousands arrived here with their sick. A large number of unusual cures were reported. Those who claimed a cure left their crutches and canes at the site, and many of those supports were attached to the wall. Pilgrims snatched plaster and bits of cement off the apparition wall for relics in 1879 and the 1880s. In the fall of 1880, a statue of Our Lady of Knock was erected where she had been seen during the vision. This place in Ireland had become a place for pilgrimage: one-and-a-half million visitors trek there annually.
This blessing upon Ireland apparently was expected because of the constant devotion to Mary that had always been exhibited on that island. St. Joseph was revered. St. John the Evangelist and the Irish people both knew love: Knock is a sign of that love. The Irish people have always understood that there is nothing divine about Our Lady; she is not God. The Blessed Virgin Mary is a human being, a sister to humankind, as well as mother. However, she is the mother of Jesus the Christ, who is divine as well as human. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God. She has no power of her own, but she is, and always will be, the mother of the most powerful person who ever walked the earth. The Blessed Virgin Mary has been assumed into heaven now to be with her Son. Sometimes she comes to earth as a heavenly messenger, sent by her Son, and she then appears to people. When the Virgin Mary speaks, she brings no new messages, nothing that is not contained in the biblical teachings of Jesus. The Virgin Mary represents Him to us, and she calls upon us to have sorrow for sin, to repent and turn to God.
The Church officially investigated the apparition at Knock in 1879, and again in 1936. It was found that the witnesses were believable and that there was nothing contrary to the faith. Four recent popes have honored Knock. Pius XII blessed the Banner of Knock at St. Peter's and decorated it with a special medal on All Saints' Day, 1945. It was the Marian year. On this occasion, the Pope announced the new feast of the Queenship of Mary. Pope John XXIII presented a special candle to Knock on Candlemas Day in 1960. He had always regarded it as one of outstanding shrines devoted to Our Lady. Pope Paul VI blessed the foundation stone for the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, on June 6, 1974. Pope John Paul II made a personel pilgrimage to the Shrine to the shrine on Sept. 30, 1979. He addressed the sick and the nursing staff, celebrated Mass, established the shrine church as a basilica, presented a candle and the golden rose to the shrine, and finally knelt in prayer at the apparition wall.