Monsignor Thomas N. Canon Taylor
Monsignor Thomas Nimmo Canon Taylor
Founder of Carfin Lourdes Grotto
Born 16 December 1873
Ordained to the Priesthood 1897
Appointed Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier, Carfin 1915
Died 1 December 1963
Thomas Taylor was born at Greenock on 16th December 1873 where his father, James, was head teacher at St Lawrence's Primary School. He was the eldest of four brothers, three of whom went to become priests: Thomas, Alexander (who died two years after his ordination at St Anthony's Govan in the Archdiocese of Glasgow) and James (who became a Vincentian in Ireland); while Henry became the father of priest, Father Thomas Taylor, who died in 1956.
Thomas attended the Franciscan school in Greenock and then St Aloysius' College, Garnethill, where he was joined by two friends, the McBrearty brothers, one of whom, Father Denis McBrearty, was destined to become his predecessor at Carfin.
He began his studies for the Priesthood at St Mary's College, Blairs, in 1889 and continued them at St Surplice's Seminary in Paris, where was ordained to the priesthood on 12th June 1896.
Returning to Scotland, Father Taylor was sent as curate to St Patrick's Dumbarton. Four years later he was appointed professor of Scripture and Church History and St Peter's College, Bearsden. In 1915 he was made parish priest of St Francis Xavier's, Carfin.
In 1893, he had made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and this was the beginning of his extraordinary love for the shrine in the Pyrenees: while lecturing in Bearsden he published a book entitled Lourdes and its Miracles, which along with a series of lectures, helped to make Lourdes better known in Scotland.
Encouraged by a group of parishioners, he planned and built the Lourdes Grotto at Carfin in the early 1920's with the assistance of many local men during a time of strikes and mass unemployment. The Grotto was formally opened on 1st October 1922, and through it he was able to promote devotion not only to Our Lady of Lourdes but also to St Therese of Lisieux; he was in fact a close friend of the saints three blood sisters in the Carmel at Lisieux. More over in 1911 he was called as one of the principal witnesses to the widespread devotion to the 'Little Flower', as St Therese has become known, in the English-speaking world when the cause for her canonisation was opened.
Perhaps Father Taylor's most famous book was his translation of L'Historie d'une ame, the autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux - was given a tremendous reception by English speakers, as was its successor A Little White Flower, with one reprint following another. He had the privilege of being present at St Therese canonisation in Rome in 1925.
During his time as guardian of the Grotto, many notable figures visited including: Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Then Ken-Sin, Archbishop of Peking, and the future American Archbishop, writer and promoter of the Missions, Fulton Sheen.
Monsignor Taylor died on 1st December 1963 and is buried at St Patrick's Cemetery, New Stevenson.
Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
The Priests' plot at St Patrick's Cemetery New Stevenston, where Mgr Taylor is buried.
Mgr Taylor's final resting place