The Miraculous Staircase

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

This past trip was my first into New Mexico and I was able to get some great advance scouting from fellow photographer Jim Nix. Thanks Jim for all of your help. I think my favorite stop in New Mexico was Santa Fe. The architecture and surrounding landscapes made it a wonderfully attractive location. One of the neatest things we saw when touring the town was the mysterious staircase in the Loretto Chapel. Completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the challenge but the only solution seemed to be a ladder given the small size of the chapel. The Sisters of the Chapel prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. As legend would have it, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. He built this staircase which has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Once completed, the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks and many concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers. Even today, experts are perplexed and amazed at its construction and design. Whether you believe the legend or not, it is an amazing staircase.