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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Miraculous Staircase

If all is going well the Fashionista and I (plus Rudi and Franz the doxies) are driving through the great state of Texas by now. We hope to reach Fort Worth by sundown tonight.

When I began planning our travel route I remembered that I had never written about the gorgeous church we had visited while in Santa Fe two years ago. Today I was ready to share this miracle.

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The Loretta Chapel is a former Roman Catholic church and now a museum and wedding chapel. In 1827 the archbishop of Santa Fe, Jean-Baptiste Lamy, commissioned the building of a convent chapel to be named Our Lady of Light Chapel. It would be in the care of the Sisters of Loretto, a group of nuns who are committed "to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity".

1-santa fe 033 French architect Antoine Mouly designed the chapel in the Gothic Revival style which features gothic arches, spires, and buttresses. It is rumored to be on a smaller scale of the famed Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. The stained glass windows were imported from France.

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Mouly passed away suddenly during construction before the builders realized the chapel was lacking any type of stairway to the choir loft. Given the chapel's small size, a standard staircase would have been too large. For a time the sisters used a ladder but this was a difficult and dangerous solution given the long habits the nuns wore.  In addition, there was no money left to fund any additional construction.

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So the sisters began to pray. This is a historical account of their story.

“Needing a way to get up to the choir loft the nuns prayed for St. Joseph’s intercession for nine straight days. On the day after their novena ended a shabby-looking stranger appeared at their door. He told the nuns he would build them a staircase but that he needed total privacy and locked himself in the chapel for three months. He used a small number of primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water and constructed a spiral staircase entirely of non-native wood. The identity of the carpenter is not known for as soon as the staircase was finally finished he was gone. Many witnesses, upon seeing the staircase, feel it was constructed by St. Joseph himself, as a miraculous occurrence.”

Can you imagine??? This amazing staircase was built with three tools: a carpenters square, a saw and warm water!

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The staircase ascends twenty feet and makes two complete revolutions up to the choir loft. It was somehow constructed without the use of nails or an apparent center support and is not attached to the wall. Numerous specialists have inspected the staircase, even x rayed it and all concluded with the same verdict~it is a miracle.

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The railing was added 10 years later, in 1887, for safety purposes.

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To further add to the mystery the sisters reported that they never saw any lumber being delivered, even though the staircase is made of non native wood. The carpenter also disappeared before he could be paid by the Sisters.

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I never wrote about this church because shortly after our visit our family met with a tragedy. At the time we could not imagine that sunshine would ever fill our lives again. We have rebuilt….slowly. Through it all we prayed.

This move to Texas feels like a beautiful fresh start for our family.

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Although at times we may feel far from God, He truly is never far from us. 

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So if you are struggling, I offer this story as a form of hope. There are always miracles.



TurquoiseLover said...

As we live in Santa Fe, we often take visitors to see this staircase and beautiful chapel--a true hidden gem. Thanks for writing about it.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh wow, this is amazing. Beautiful story. Hope your travels are going well. Miss you tons.

The Arts by Karena said...

Am astounding story Laura! I also spot Lyman Whitaker wind sculptures outside!
The Arts by Karena

Rhonda said...

Safe travels Laura and family! This church is amazing! Beautiful pictures and such an inspirational story.

Charlotte said...

I've seen this church. Love the story behind the staircase. Good photos. Hope you like your new place.

Maureen Wyatt said...

I had never heard of this miracle staircase and the story lightens my heart and fills me with wonder. Thank you for taking me there with you!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I have read about his before, but I love the beautiful pictures!

Laura, I hope and pray that all goes perfectly for you it's this move. Sending loads of love your way!


Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

In this move, not it's this move. Sorry for the typo! xo

Gypsy Heart said...

I love this chapel! I've visited several times and it truly is a miracle.

Hope you're almost to Texas...if not already. :)


lynn cockrell said...

I have heard about this staircase before, Laura. It is an awesome creation and your pictures are beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to share with us! Happy travels!

Vel Criste said...

It does look fantastic, thought it was in Europe for a sec! Take care driving dear!

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Wow! What a beautiful chapel and a beautiful story! The stairs are truly spectacular! Hope you have made it to your new home by now!

Liz@ Infuse With Liz said...

Wow that is fabulous. It does seem to be a miracle how it was made. I wish you the best with your new move and home!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

I love this chapel. I take my daughter every time we go to Santa Fe. xoxox