The Shell Chapel, Guernsey, Channel Islands

Also known as "The Little Chapel" this amazing building is even more astonishing because it was the work of one man, Brother Deodat Antoine.

The Chapel is built to reflect the design of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, but for some reason known only to Brother Deodat he chose to decorate it with shells and fragments of broken pottery.

The present church is the third which Brother Deodat built.  He came to Guernsey in 1913 and the wooded valley of Les Vauxbelets was chosen as the site for his shrine.  The first was so tiny that, after some caustic criticism, Brother Deodat pulled it down.  The second attempt was built during the First World War and could accommodate four people.  It was visited in 1923 by the Bishop of Porstmouth - alas he was a man of some girth and couldn't fit through the door. Despondantly Brother Deodat destroyed his work once more.

The final church was almost completed when World War II broke out.  Deodat returned to France where he died in 1951 never having seen his work completed.  The remaining monks at Les Vauxbelets completed the Chapel and it was consecrated and regular services are held for a capacity congregation - which is to say eight whole people!!

Without a doubt this wonderfully eccentric building is one of the great works of dedication in the World ranking in it's own way alongside the great Cathedrals of the World as a mark of one man's testiment to his God.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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