Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Our Lady of Lourdes Church – History To Know

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is one of Singapore’s oldest Catholic churches and was once known as the Indian Church or Tamil Church. The monument honours the contributions made by the Catholic Church to Singapore while it was ruled by the British. It demonstrates the rise of the Tamil Catholic population over time and the spread of Catholicism in Singapore.


In 1888, the Our Lady of Lourdes Church received a blessing and made its public debut. It is Singapore’s first Tamil Catholic church. The building site was acquired in 1885, and on August 1, 1886, Bishop Gasnier, D.D., and Sir Frederick A. Weld, G. C M. G., performed an official ceremony to lay the cornerstone. 

Many clergy and laypeople were present to see that. It resembles the French sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes Church. A shrine with life-size sculptures representing the apparition of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette gets located inside the actual church structure.

Many historians of architecture give this structure the name Swan & Maclaren. It was most likely created by a priest-architect like Father Nain, as were many other Catholic structures – in Singapore at the period. Swan & Maclaren, to whom it is sometimes credited, could not have carried it out because the firm was unestablished until 1893 – when the building finished. Most likely, A.W. Lermit of Swan & Lermit submitted the plans (predecessor of Swan & Maclaren).

Up to a point, the church is still utilised today for what it intended to do: serve as a place of worship for Tamil Catholics. For the past ten years, it has welcomed Catholics of all colours in the interests of a multiracial society. There are English, Tamil, and Sinhalese masses.

On January 14, 2005, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes got declared a national monument. It received financing from the National Monuments Fund, managed by the National Heritage Board, in 2016 for renovations since it is a national monument.

Architecture and interior design

The foundation design, the cast-iron columns, and metal frames get ascribed to the Frenchman Alexandre Izambert. However, the planned presbytery gets credited to A. W. Lermit of the nearby architectural company Swan & Lermit also oversaw the building’s construction. The Neo-Gothic architectural style gets evident throughout the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

It gets characterised by the use of spires and lancet-shaped entrances and windows. Thus outside walls get embellished with lovely cornices, crockets, and mouldings. 

The natural recreation of the Lourdes grotto gets unquestionably the focal point of the chapel. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Bernadette, the young woman who saw the Marian apparition, are depicted in it as life-size sculptures. Two rows of nine thin columns, each with a massive square base, divide the nave into three aisles. 

The assortment of stained-glass windows that line the clerestory – of the church is another notable aspect of the interior. The key occurrences in Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s lives get recounted in the 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. A bell instrument known as an electronic carillon, the first of its sort in Asia, was purchased for the – church in 1958 by the then parish priest Reverend Father Albert Fortier, MEP.


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