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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Do You Know the Mystery of...



...the Loretto Chapel staircase???


Have you heard of the mysterious staircase in the Loretto Chapel of Santa Fe?

In the late 1800's, the Arch Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy of the Santa Fe diocese 
of the Catholic Church, commissioned a chapel to be built and to be named 
Our Lady of Light Chapel for the Sisters of Loretto.
The Arch Bishop did not like the traditional Pueblo Indian style of architecture, 
native to Santa Fe, and instead had the chapel designed in the Gothic Revival style.
Apparently the architect died suddenly and before the chapel was completed.
During the building of the chapel it was discovered that there had not been
a staircase designed to access the choir loft.  
The Sisters were not happy with the prospect of climbing a ladder to get to the loft
due to the long skirts of their habits.
Sooo...the Sisters...being a religious order...decided to say Novenas (prayers) to 
Saint Joseph, the patron Saint of Carpenters.  
On the ninth and final day of the Novenas, a man appeared 
who was looking for work...  
Several months later the staircase was completed...
and the man disappeared with no thanks and no pay.
The Sisters searched for him...even putting an ad in the paper, but to no avail.
Many of the Sister's believed that it was Saint Joseph himself
who answered their prayers and built their staircase.

For all intents and purposes, the staircase should not stand, much less function.
There are two 360 degree turns with no support.  
It was built with wooden pegs, no nails.

The staircase is considered quite miraculous...in it's history and innovative design.
In addition, the lumber used was quite unusual, and was never seen being delivered.
It is quite beautiful...the detail and finish superb.

What do you think?  Is it a miracle?


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49 comments:

  1. amazing staircase and story, I like to believe in miracles.

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  2. I like to think of it as a wonderful mystery. What a wonderful story and quite an incredible structure!

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  3. Great photo in B&W! Wonderful perspective!

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  4. Anything is possible, I think. There is always a crowd of tourist waiting to see this marvel in Santa Fe. I'm a bit skeptic, however, because NM is historically so Roman Catholic and it just might have been a nudge to more conversions for the population. Am I a "doubting Thomas?" Beautiful photo, incidentally; spiral staircases are not easy to photograph.

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    1. Hadn't thought of that as a possibility Kate...it's just such an unusual structure for the time...

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  5. Your photo made me go and look at our photos from 2006 which I'll post in a couple of weeks.
    Great shot!

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    1. Glad to conjure up pleasant memories Jackie!!!

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  6. A beautiful story, a beautiful staircase, and a beautiful image!

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  7. What a beautiful staircase! Great photo, and a wonderful story.

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    1. Thanks Dragonstar!!! I couldn't pick between yesterday's and todays posts for Weekend in Black and White so I just had to include them both!!!

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  8. From my perspective, it's a miracle someone could build a staircase that beautiful, period. Very, very cool, thanks for sharing the photo and the story.

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  9. i think i have heard of this before. what a great story. gives ya hope & something to believe in. i totally believe in miracles. ( :

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    1. There have been several movies made regarding this story...If I remember correctly, I think Lilies of the Field is a loose interpretation of the story...

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  10. I don't know if it's a miracle, but it's certainly beautiful!

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  11. Very interesting story. I think the staircase is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it this week in InSPIREd Sunday!

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    1. Thanks Sally...it's really quite beautiful in person!

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  12. I've always loved this story (told to me with relish when visiting a friend who grew up there:) - what a beautiful capture and post!

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    1. How interesting to have a friend with such ties to the mystery!

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  13. What a great story! And it's so beautiful as well as being an architectural wonder.

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  14. You have make beautiful photo!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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  15. Miracles do happen Chieftess, I've experienced two myself.. But structural miracles hmmm! Not sure about that one :)

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  16. Any way you look at it, spiral staircases are a miracle--both in construction and function. This is a great story with many lessons. In Kentucky, near Lexington there's a great spiral staircase at Shaker Village from the 1800s. A thing of Shaker simplicity and beauty.

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    1. I agree Faye!!! Definitely a miraculous achievement back in the late 1800's!!! I love Shaker architecture and furniture...my sister lived n Louisville Kentucky years ago and I loved visiting the Shaker villages and shops...

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  17. Great shot and such and interesting story. A miracle, for sure!

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  18. Great perspective! Beautiful photo in B&W!

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  19. It's certainly an intriguing story!

    I love spiral stairs. I had a third floor loft reached by one of them for a year.

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