Posted by: christinelaennec | November 11, 2015

Schoenstatt Retreat and Pilgimage Centre, Campsie Glen

I want to show you a very special place that I’ve discovered:  Schoenstatt Retreat and Pilgrimage Centre, near Glasgow.  A friend of mine took me to this lovely place in the summer, and I went back later with Gay during her visit.  Schoenstatt is in the tiny village of Campsie Glen, in the Campsie Fells to the north of Glasgow.  The bus takes an hour, and lets you off here, by the Campsie Glen tearoom:

Campsie Glen

Campsie Glen, June 2015.

From the tearoom it’s a short walk.  We stopped to talk to a man who told us that this house was once the schoolhouse for the children of Campsie Glen.  We could only see about a dozen houses, but perhaps there are more, or once were more.

The old schoolhouse and its back garden, Campsie Glen.

The old schoolhouse and its back garden, Campsie Glen.  June 2015.

He told us that the children would come into the school through the brown side porch, that the privy was the white shed on the side, and that they could play in the garden.  The school-teacher lived upstairs and the schoolrooms were downstairs.

You walk over a bridge, with a beautiful brook below…

Walking over a bridge crossing a wee burn, Campsie Glen.

Walking over a bridge crossing a wee burn, Campsie Glen, June 2015.

… to these gates:

Gates to the woodland walk, Schoenstatt.

Gates to the woodland walk, Schoenstatt.  June 2015.

A short stroll later, you find yourself here:

Schoenstatt Retreat Centre, from the field behind the chapel.

Schoenstatt Retreat and Pilgrimage Centre, from the field behind the chapel.  June 2015.

The setting is so beautiful, it’s hard to believe that you’re just an hour away from a major city:

Schoenstatt with the Campsie Fells behind.

Schoenstatt with the Campsie Fells behind.  June 2015.

The little chapel made me really feel I’d been transported to the Tyrolean Alps:

Chapel, Schoenstatt.

Chapel, Schoenstatt, June 2015.

Schoenstatt is run by the Sisters of St. Mary.  The friend who took me there told me that this German order came to Glasgow early in the 20th century to minister to German sea-farers.   Over the years there were fewer German sea-farers, and in 1990 the sisters bought this property outside the city to establish their retreat centre.

Tess, the Schoenstatt dog, during another visit.

Tess, the Schoenstatt dog, greeting me and Gay in July 2015.  She was very friendly, but I suppose as she was out unsupervised, with visitors meandering about, they have to put a muzzle harness on her.

I was very interested by the fact that Schoenstatt welcomes people of all faiths or none.  They run a number of different kinds of retreats, and are booked up months in advance as a conference venue.

Chapel, on a later visit.

Schoenstatt Chapel, July 2015.

It is a very peaceful spot indeed.

The retreat centre, Schoenstatt.

The retreat centre, Schoenstatt.  June 2015.

I don’t know if the main building (with the tower and conical roof) is very old, or modern but built in a traditionally Scottish style.

I took Gay to Schoenstatt during her visit, and like me she felt blessed by the peace there:

Gay next to the stone mosaic in front of the chapel, Schoenstatt.

Gay next to the stone mosaic in front of the chapel, Schoenstatt.  July 2015.

Gay is a talented mosaicist, whose front door is beautifully adorned with glass pebbles, so she appreciated the work that went into the Schoenstatt mosaic.

I am hoping to go on a short retreat to Schoenstatt this winter.  If I manage it, I’ll be curious to see what the woodland walks and the beautiful meadows are like in a different season.  Perhaps it will seem like a different place; perhaps the background of the Campsies will be more prominent with the leaves off the trees.  I’m pretty sure that the peacefulness will be the same, though.



  1. Hello, Christine.

    I’ve stayed at Shoenstatt as a B&B guest quite a number of years ago. I don’t think they do B&B any more, so we were very lucky to stay. The chapel is very tiny indeed. A little jewel in an outstandingly beautiful setting. Best wishes to you and yours,

    Sally Blackledge

  2. What a beautiful, peaceful place. It does look like it’s right out of the Austrian Alps.

  3. Christine! I am so excited that you plan to go on a retreat in such a lovely setting…so much loveliness to explore…so peaceful 🙂 I am glad that you and Gay were able to enjoy visiting there together. xx

  4. What a beautiful place to have discovered!

    It’s funny, I was just commenting to a friend as we were driving yesterday that it’s often hard to believe we’re actually so close to a busy city when surrounded by such beautiful countryside. Scotland is very blessed!xo

  5. You find the most surprising and delightful places in and around Glasgow. The centre looks beautiful, I hope you have a wonderfully refreshing time if you stay there.

  6. What an amazing place to visit. Wishing you a wonderful peaceful time there when you go on your retreat visit.

  7. The place itself looks lovely but……I felt so sad to see the dog with such a harsh muzzle, a much kinder option would be a “basket” muzzle which allows the dog to pant and to drink. The muzzle it’s wearing would not let the dog drink.

    The muzzle the dog is wearing is usually only used for a very brief time, when for instance being examined by the vet.

    Shame that the owners of the retreat aren’t more knowledgeable and kind to their dog.

  8. I used to go to Campsie Glen for work believe it or not. I knew Schoenstatt was there but had only passed the gates on the outside I had no idea how lovely it was inside those gates. I had been told it was nuns who lived there but thats all. We used to kid our boss about having clandestine meetings in the tearoom at Campsie Glen. If things were a bit too hectic for his liking he would tell us he had a job to go to near Campsie Glen and we knew he was going there for some peace and quiet and a baked potato lol. Campsie Glen is quite magical and it is wonderful it’s so near the city. I hope you manage your retreat (check there’s no snow forecast!) and enjoy the peace and quiet our boss clearly found up there. x

  9. What a beautiful spot. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Your photos call to mind the landscape of the Canadian Maritimes. Quiet and beautiful.

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