A National Shrine
Carfin Grotto is Scotland's National Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Grotto welcomes over seventy thousand pilgrims each year from far and wide who come to experience this special place of beauty, prayer and peace and receive the many graces that come from this Shrine.
Since its inception many thousands of people, through their prayers, sacrifices, practical help and financial generosity have helped to sustain and expand the Grotto.
Over the past ninety years, the Grotto has continued to be enriched with new shrines and chapels and the environs have continued to be enhanced to make this Marian Shrine a beautiful place of pilgrimage.
The Pilgrimage Season, which runs from April until October, provides an opportunity for pilgrims to share in the Catholic liturgies and traditions which are celebrated daily including Daily Mass, Sacrament of Confession, Rosary and Torchlight Processions, Novenas and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing. You reign now in heaven with Jesus our King.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Founding the Grotto
In the early 1920's, a Pilgrimage from Carfin to the Marian Shrine of Lourdes, France, where Our Lady appeared to the young St Bernadette Soubrious in 1858. Following this Pilgrimage, Canon Taylor, then parish priest of St Francis Xavier's Parish, Carfin, had the vision to create a Marian Shrine at Carfin across the road from where the Parish Church at that time stood. Work; carried out by the hands of local parishioners, many of whom were coal miners out of work due to the strikes; began in 1920 and by 1922, Carfin's own 'Lourdes Shrine' was officially opened.
Directly opposite the entrance of the Grotto stands a memorial to Monsignor Thomas Nimmo Canon Taylor, the founder of the Grotto, and the people who helped build the Shrine. Monsignor Taylor was born in 1873 and was ordained to the Priesthood in 1897. From 1915 until his death in 1963, Monsignor Taylor served as Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier's Parish, Carfin. It was during these years that Monsignor Taylor oversaw the creation of Carfin Grotto and worked to build up the special place of pilgrimage that we know today.
With over forty chapels, shrines and statues, Carfin Grotto is a beautiful, peaceful place of pilgrimage where one can fully experience the beauty of the Catholic faith. See all that our beautiful Shrine has to offer by taking a tour of the Grotto.
Chapels & Shrines
Housed within the Grotto are a large number of Chapels and Shrines honouring Our Lord, Our Blessed Lady and the Saints. Some of these have been open since the very early days of the Grotto whilst others are newer editions which have been opened in recent years. The last few years especially has seen a number of the original shiners and chapels, which had lay closed for decades, refurbished and reopened to the public for prayer and devotion. All of the Chapels and Shrines are open every day during the pilgrimage season.
Saints of the Grotto
A large number of the saints are honoured at Carfin Grotto with statues and shrines which have been erected over the last 90 years. As well as Our Lady, who is honoured under many of her titles, The Little Flower, the secondary patron of the Grotto, and St Francis Xavier, patron of the parish, a host of other saints are commemorated here including: St Patrick, St Margaret, St Andrew, St John Ogilvie St Philomena, St Anthony and St Columba. Newer additions include St Peregrine, Pope St John Paul II and Our Lady of Palestine. You can find out about the saints commemorated in the Grotto and a little about their lives here on our website.
As well as a large number of statues and shrines honouring the saints of the Church, Carfin Grotto also holds one of the largest collection of relics outside of the Vatican. Hundreds of relics are housed within the All Saints' Reliquary Chapel including relics of St Thomas More, St Therese of Lisieux and St Barbara. Also housed within the Reliquary Chapel is the very special Carfin Monstrance and Canopy which sit on display in the heart of the Chapel.