Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Nov 22 2007


Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Flatrock

Here at Nooks and Crannies, our “Best Of” vote for this years’ “Most Psychedelic Spot”, is Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto out in Flatrock. Catholic or not, you have to admit there is something somewhat awe-inspiring about living so close to the largest grotto in eastern Canada.

Heading into Flatrock, sitting just beyond the St. Michael’s Church roadside veggie patch, there is nestled a rocky, terraced sanctuary. The grey grounds wind with little paths, each leading to statues, plaques or shrines.

In 1954, Flatrock parish priest Reverend Father William Sullivan went on a pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, in France, and was inspired. The caves he visited became famous among Catholics in 1858 after a lady, believed by many to be the Virgin Mary, appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl who was gathering wood. The site later became host to countless apparitions and was found to have miraculous curative abilities.

During his visit, Reverend Sullivan saw a striking resemblance between the landscape of rocky Flatrock and the caves of Lourdes. And returning to Newfoundland, he mobilized the support of the parish to build a local grotto in its likeness.

By 1958, a cave was excavated in a cliff side to house statues of Our Blessed Mother and St. Bernadette. Since then many other elements were added including the Stations of the Cross, a statue of St. Michael, and a crucifix built to scale.

While there have been no reports of holy apparitions at Flatrock’s grotto, it was visited and blessed by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in 1984.

—Lesley Thompson
Suggestion for a nook? nooks@thescope.ca

2 responses so far

  1. I heard a rumour that its being demolished to widen the road out there… is this true?

  2. I doubt it… It would have to be an extremely wide road, since from what I remember the gate to get in is at least 30 feet in from the road now. You could send a quick e-mail to the town office and ask: http://www.townofflatrock.com/contact/