Abercynon 'Welsh Lourdes' shrine in restoration appeal
Published: 16th Mar 2011 07:13:22
An appeal is being launched to restore a holy shrine in the Cynon Valley referred to as the "Welsh Lourdes".
People have come to pray at the riverbank grotto at the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas, Abercynon, since it was built 85 years ago.
The shrine, the brainchild of the town's first priest, Father Carroll Baillie, was built by miners.
Rhondda Cynon Taf mayor Simon Lloyd said the monument was "a great reminder of this area's history".
Father Baillie arrived in Abercynon in 1924 to minister to the immigrant Irish and Italian miners, as well as to the small number of Welsh Catholics living in the area at the time, explained a council spokesperson.
The 1925 coal strike caused a stoppage of work at the two local collieries on which the local population depended for its livelihood.
In order to keep the town's unemployed miners occupied, Father Baillie decided to create a Welsh version of the holy shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
The miners used crowbars and ropes to haul huge blocks of stone from the riverbed, then strengthened the banks and terraces with a sloped wall.
The holy shrine at the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas is a unique place in this part of south Wales and is a great reminder of this area's history”
Mr Lloyd said: "The holy shrine at the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas is a unique place in this part of south Wales and is a great reminder of this area's history.
"I am delighted to hear that the shrine is going to be restored and I hope that local people will be able to support the restoration appeal."
Abercynon's shrine is relatively modern compared to others around Wales.
The shrine at St Winefride's Well, in Holywell, Flintshire, has been attracting visitors since the 7th Century.
St Mary's Well at Penrhys, in Rhondda, has been visited by pilgrims from around the world since the medieval period.
At 16:53:40 in EnglandThe owners of a care home in Lancashire have been charged with mistreating vulnerable residents.
At 16:51:53 in EnglandNursery children are among several people who have been infected with a rare E. coli strain in Dorset that led to kidney problems in some patients.
At 16:50:24 in Northern IrelandA former developer who was once one of Ireland's richest men has told the High Court he was never warned before company cheques for more than £300,000 were bounced.
At 16:48:24 in ScotlandNicola Sturgeon said in advance - not least at the SNP conference - that her aim was to balance the search for social justice with pursuing economic growth.
At 16:43:39 in HeadlinesFormer Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presenter Jian Ghomeshi has been arrested and charged with sexual assault, Toronto police say.
At 16:38:01 in EnglandA terrorism suspect who skipped bail in London has apparently released an image he claims shows him with his newborn son in the Islamic State (IS).
At 16:37:10 in EnglandTwo new vessels are being built for the hovercraft service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, its operator has announced.
At 16:32:35 in EnglandTwin brothers have become fathers of baby boys born within hours of each other at the same hospital.
At 16:32:10 in HeadlinesA video of a lamb chop being launched high above the earth has gone viral. But what does the guardian of the famous chop recipe think?
At 16:29:52 in SportJean-Eric Vergne has been dropped by Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso for 2015, the Frenchman has announced.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Abercynon 'Welsh Lourdes' shrine in restoration appeal [Online] (Updated 16th Mar 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/138388/Abercynon-039-Welsh-Lourdes-039-shrine-in-restoration-appeal [Accessed 26th Nov 2014]
News In Other Categories
Planned changes to the probation service are "dangerous" and "needless", an MP has said.
The owners of a care home in Lancashire have been charged with mistreating vulnerable residents.
Former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presenter Jian Ghomeshi has been arrested and charged with sexual assault, Toronto police say.
Willy Russell's Educating Rita is to have its first professional production in Liverpool in 13 years to mark the 35th anniversary of its 1980 premiere.
More than a million pre-payment gas customers have been overcharged because their meters are faulty, the industry has admitted.
Sony is set to reimburse customers who bought its PlayStation Vita after complaints that a TV advert for the handheld console made false claims.