Fire ‘set deliberately’ damages Scotland’s national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes

Carfin Grotto, Scotland’s national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, is cleaned after a suspected arson attack on Oct. 17, 2021./ Sancta Familia Media.

Suspected arsonists targeted Scotland’s national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday night, in the latest in a series of incidents at Catholic sites.

The fire on Oct. 17 caused damage to Carfin Grotto, located about 15 miles outside of Glasgow’s city center, adding to the financial strain on the shrine that welcomed more than 70,000 pilgrims a year before the coronavirus crisis.

John P. Mallon, the co-founder of Sancta Familia Media, which handles press inquiries on the shrine’s behalf, told CNA on Oct. 19: “It has saddened us all at Carfin as we approach our centenary next year of the opening of the Grotto on Oct. 1, 2022.”

“COVID has reduced a lot of our annual intake by reducing pilgrimages so we are already on a tight budget before this attack.”

“The fire was quite fierce and set deliberately by the piling of items together and setting them alight.”

The Scottish Sun newspaper said that police had received a report relating to the fire and that inquiries were at an early stage.

Mallon explained that the fire damaged memorials to deceased relatives in the shrine’s Lourdes memorial cave, dedicated in 2009 by Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes,

Sancta Familia Media.
Sancta Familia Media.


“The iron candle stands have been completely melted and fire-damaged and are unusable and some of the plaques have damage to their letters,” he said.

“We are waiting for further information from police and we will need to do more security checks and structural checks to the cave, including lights and cables.”

Sancta Familia Media.
Sancta Familia Media.

The shrine, built by hand by local parishioners opposite St. Francis Xavier’s church in Carfin, opened in 1922. It is accessible year-round, with daily Masses and confession, Eucharistic adoration, novenas, and processions.

Source: CNA