St Bernadette's Parish is located in what, in ancient times, was the kingdom of Strathclyde. Shortly after the beginning of the first millennium AD (some fifty years after the crucifixion) attempts were made by the Romans to conquer the Kingdom but these were largely unsuccessful, although relics of Roman occupation are still to be found locally. Most influential in the development of Christianity in Strathclyde and the conversion of its people was St Mungo, also known as Kentigern, who is credited with the conversion of the West of Scotland just as St Columba had converted the North, St's Aidan and Cuthbert the East and St Ninian the South.
Motherwell takes its name from an ancient well - the Lady Well - which was formerly located on Ladywell Road, within the parish boundary. Motherwell itself was built on mining, iron and steel production, and heavy engineering. The town expanded rapidly due to the growth of heavy industry, and continued to do so between the two world wars, with modern housing replacing the older tenemental slums. Following World War II, a vigorous programme of house building - known as "Homes Fit for Heroes" - was undertaken, and North Motherwell, already a designated building area, expanded rapidly.
In 1948, the Archdiocese of Glasgow was subdivided and the new Diocese of Motherwell was formed. The church of Our Lady of Good Aid in Motherwell, one of the finest church buildings in Scotland, was elevated to Cathedral status. Some two years after the formation of the new Diocese, its first Bishop, Bishop Douglas, deemed that North Motherwell, in the midst of rapid growth, merited a parish in its own right and on the 14 of September 1950, St Bernadette's parish came into being.
Initially the parish was homeless. Services were held in the local Miners Welfare Hall or in the Oratory of the Chapel House. This was a challenging time for the new parish community, but they set about it with enthusiasm, raising funds for the building of a church and establishing parish groups such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Union of Catholic Mothers, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Men's Society and the Boys' Guild. All of this early work established some solid foundations for the future of our parish.
Our first church was a temporary building, but well used and much loved. It was located adjacent to the site where our new church would be built, but served us well, and when replaced, served for many years as the parish hall.
The building of our new church was completed in 1964, and the Solemn Opening took place on the 25 April 1965 at Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Francis Thomson, Bishop of Motherwell.