‘Seeing Is Believing – Art as a Doorway to Mystery’: Saturday, June 8th 2024

Join Us For An Inspirational Day With International Art Experts


Seeing is Believing –  Art as a Doorway to Mystery

June 8th 2024 from 10.30am to 4pm at Knock House Hotel


‘Art as a doorway to mystery’ is the theme for a very special art appreciation day, focusing on how artists have aimed over the centuries to give us a glimpse of the Divine. Taking place at Knock House Hotel on Saturday, June 8th, this promises to be a unique event, drawing together experts from the art world. We are delighted to host this wonderful event at Knock Shrine. International art experts will give us their own personal insights into how Christian art through the ages has influenced them.


Fr. Patrick van der Vorst is a Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Westminster, London. Patrick was born and raised in Bruges, Belgium. Before being ordained to the priesthood in June 2023, Patrick was a former Director of Sotheby’s Europe and worked 25 years in the art world. He is a specialist in 18th century French furniture. In 2010 Patrick left Sotheby’s to set up his own online art valuation company and appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

He launched the www.christian.art.com website in the period after having left the art-world and before starting seminary. In his daily reflections, Fr. Patrick combines his knowledge of the arts with the Gospel. The website now has 70,000 daily readers.

Dr. Caroline Campbell is Director of the National Gallery of Ireland and is the first female Director in the Gallery’s 158-year history.  Dr Campbell has spent her career in three leading international art museums as a curator and senior leader. She has held positions at Ashmoleum Museum, the Courtauld Gallery and the National Gallery, London and has worked as Director of Collections and Research at the National Gallery, London.

Dr. Nora Donnelly is an Educator and Art Critic as well as an artist.  She has taught both at Primary and University levels and written extensively about the value of the experience of art to humankind.

In the afternoon, Grace Mulqueen, Curator at Knock Museum will lead us on a journey through the wide variety of artworks at Knock Shrine, by renowned artists including Harry Clarke, Imogen Stuart, Ger Sweeney, PJ Lynch, Roisin De Buitléar, Lorenzo Ferri and Timothy P Schmalz.

Grace will weave the story of Knock and its development from a typical small rural village in the 19th century to the international pilgrimage destination that it has become today.


Programme For The Day


Registration and tea/coffee: 10.30am

Morning Session: 11am to 1pm

“The Art of Believing”

Fr. Patrick van der Vorst, former Director at Sotheby’s London and ‘Dragon’s Den’ winner.

“Art as a Gateway to The Divine”

Dr. Caroline Campbell, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland

“Art into Life, Life into Art”

Dr. Nora Donnelly, Educator and Art Critic





Afternoon Session:


Take a Unique Tour of Artistic Works at Knock Shrine, beginning at Knock Basilica at 2pm

Grace Mulqueen, Curator at Knock Museum, leads a tour of the wide range of artistic works throughout Knock Shrine


Cost: €15 (lunch not included). Advance booking is recommended but not required. Registration at 10.30am. Online booking facility available here