Friday, September 11, 2009

Loretto Chapel

I know we are out of our blog area here, but there is a reason behind it. We went to Santa Fe this past weekend for the kick off of the 400th anniversary celebration. Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by the Spainards. It is the capitol of New Mexico and very rich in cultural history. Near the plaza stands a gothic building called Loretto Chapel.

Inside of the chapel is a miraculous staircase. The stairway is a mystery to this day as it makes 2 complete 360 degree turns is over 20 ft tall and has no center support. There are 33 steps of all the same height. The staircase rests solely on the base and the choir loft. It was constructed with only square wooden pegs and no nails or glue. It is also made from a rare wood, that was as far as anyone knew, extinct.

The chapel was built in 1878 and the choir loft, 22 feet above, had no access. The sisters said a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of the novena, a man appeared with a donkey and tools looking for work. Six months later, the man had completed the staircase and disappeared without thanks or pay.
The sisters searched for the man and no one could ever find him. Stories throughout the years claim that it was St. Joseph himself that came and built it for them. The original staircase had no bannister and the next photo represents that.

In the last few years a new theory has come to light and it is now said that it was "Frenchy" of Dog Canyon that built the staircase. He was in the area at the time, had skills, was from a foreign country that might have given him skills and access to the wood. No one knows for sure, but it ties Loretto to our corner of the world, and no matter what, a miracle.

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