Stairway to Heaven

Do you believe in miracles? If you do, the Loretto Chapel in New Mexico’s capital city, Santa Fe needs to be on your bucket list. IMG_8193This gothic style chapel houses a helix-shaped spiral staircase that has been the stuff of legends ever since a mysterious carpenter built this Miraculous Staircase in 1877. IMG_8161
The story goes like this: In 1872 Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy commissioned a chapel for the Sisters of Loretto who had come from St. Louis across the Mississippi to establish a convent here in the Southwest.
The chapel was erected without any type of stairway to the choir loft since during that time people used ladders to get up and down. Can you imagine the Sisters in their long habits climbing a ladder?
Since chapel was too small, it could not accommodate a standard staircase. Desperate for a way to get up to the choir loft, the nuns began praying to St. Joseph for nine days. On day nine, a grey-haired stranger arrived on a donkey. Equipped with a simple toolbox, he offered to build a staircase, providing he’ll be let alone. And for the next three months he locked himself in the chapel, hammering and sawing away, using only primitive tools and non-native wood.
The Stairway to Heaven completed, the mysterious carpenter disappeared before Mother Superior could pay him. A reward for the man’s identity was offered, but he was never seen again.
Ever since that day, many mysteries surround the miraculous staircase. Who the carpenter really was? How the lumber was delivered? How this man could build such an impressive work of carpentry without using nails or any apparent center support?
Although many people have been convinced that no other than St. Joseph himself is the master behind the miracle, these baffling questions remain unanswered to this day. Maybe you’ll be one of the blessed ones to uncover some of the mysteries concealed in this Stairway to Heaven next time you visit Santa Fe. IMG_8171


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Very interesting. I never heard that story before. Thanks Christiane! Sound like you’re enjoying New Mexico!

  2. Bob Marler says:

    A most interesting story. I hope to visit there soon.
    Sao Paulo, Brazil

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