John Curry was the youngest person of a group of 15 people who witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John at Knock Parish, County Mayo, Ireland on the evening of August 21, 1879. He was five years old.
On Saturday, May 13 John Curry’s remains were reinterred at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral after a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by his Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
The Church launched an official inquiry of the apparition in October, 1879 and again in New York City in 1937. In a letter sent to the curate of Knock Parish in 1936, John Curry said of the event: “I remember it as well as I do last night.” His testimony in 1937 described the figures: “It appeared to me that they were alive, but they didn’t speak. One of the women there, Bridget Trench, kissed the Blessed Virgin’s feet and tried to put her arms around the feet but there was nothing there but the picture. I saw her do that. The figures were life size and I will remember them till I go to my grave.”
John Curry immigrated to New York in 1897 at the age of 25, returned to London in 1900 and then returned to the United States in 1911. Sometime in the1920’s John Curry moved to New York and began work at the City Hospital. By all accounts he led a quiet and humble life. He never married.
Enter the Little Sisters of the Poor.
When John Curry’s health began to fade he moved in with the Little Sisters of the Poor at their home for the aged in Brooklyn, New York. The Little Sisters would care for him until his death in in 1943 at the age of 69. He was buried in an unmarked grave in what is now Pinelawn Cemetery on Long Island.
John Curry did not tell the Little Sisters about his witnessing the apparition until shortly before the second official Church inquiry in 1937.
On Saturday, members of the Little Sisters of the Little Sisters of the Poor were escorted to the front pew at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral to join others, including over 130 pilgrims from Knock, to celebrate the Mass of Thanksgiving. During the procession, Cardinal Dolan gave each of the Little Sisters in attendance a hug and a blessing. Cardinal Dolan specifically referenced the mission of the Little Sisters in his Homily and ask those assembled to recognize the Little Sisters present at the conclusion of the Mass.