Church Life,  Faith and Life

A Spiritual Moment

Carfin Grotto

My sister has just returned from a few days in Paris. This is one of my favourite cities in the world and each time I go there, I make sure to pay a visit to the little Chapel of the Miraculous Medal on the Rue du Bac. Scotland has not – to my knowledge – been graced with a visit from the Mother of God, but we do have one or two places here which are specially dedicated in Her honour. One such place is Carfin Grotto.

Overlooking the Grotto

Carfin is the ‘national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes’. It is situated in beautiful countryside near Motherwell in central Scotland, not far from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Good Aid. It was built by local people in the 1920s and has grown substantially since then.

At the heart of Carfin in the little glass chapel dedicated to Our Lady under the title of the Maid of the Seas. In the summer months, there is daily Mass in the Chapel, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Throughout the summer months, there is a succession of parish visits, groups excursions and events.

Chapel of the Angels

To the right of the Glass Chapel, there is the Cave of Bethlehem and the underground Chapel of the Angels – both very beautiful and tranquil. To the left, there is a recreation of Our Lady’s appearances at Fatima, and also a life sized Calvary. Surrounding all of these are the open-air Stations of the Cross. A little further to the left, there is the Holy House of Nazareth and the newer Divine Mercy Chapel.

And on the little rocky promontory overlooking the entire Grotto, there is the Chapel dedicated to St Thérèse of Lisieux, to whom the Grotto has also been dedicated since it’s inception.

Carfin is also home to the Reliquary Chapel, which houses the largest collection of first-class Relics outside of Rome.

Interior of the Glass Chapel

Throughout the grounds, there are exceptional statues of various Saints – from St Joseph to St Charbel, from Pope St Leo X to St Peregrine and St Andrew, the patron of Scotland.

Perhaps more than anything else, Carfin Grotto offers ‘a spiritual moment’ out of the ordinariness of daily life. It allows us to step out of our usual routines and to lift our minds and hearts to something greater.

And these days – as in all days past – such moments are necessary. They reminds us that this present moment is not the sum of our existence – there is something far greater than us. They also provide with much needed strength to get through these present moments, which are often difficult for us.

Carfin Grotto is an ideal place to go and spend some time alone or in the company of others.

Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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