Santa Fe – The Loretto Chapel

A friend suggested that while in Santa Fe, I visit the Loretto Chapel, home of the Miraculous Staircase. Sounded like a great idea to me, so The Artistic One and I set off to find it.


Outside the entrance is a tree blooming with rosaries

As you enter the foyer, there is a sign giving a little information about the history:

Inside the chapel:

The main attraction of this chapel is the Miraculous Staircase, as it was first built:

And as it is now:

The stunning stained glass window in the choir loft:

From the website for the Loretto Chapel, the history behind the chapel and the staircase:
“When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.

The stairway’s carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.”

A miracle indeed!

About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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7 Responses to Santa Fe – The Loretto Chapel

  1. lakeafton says:

    I saw this, too, but had forgotten where it was. “Thanks for the Memory” or maybe it should be “my memory.”


  2. loisajay says:

    Built with no bannister? Lord help you, right?!


  3. Carol — The rosary-laden tree and the story of the stairs — magnificent!


  4. dawnkinster says:

    We visited this church a few years ago…love Santa Fe, loved this place too, it was so beautiful! We sat inside for a long time. Glad you got to go!


  5. Fascinating! Beautiful photos, carol.


  6. Pingback: Jumble Spoiler – 04/22/15 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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