You might have guessed by now, that I’m not the churchiest person. Spiritual, yes, churchy, no. But, as anyone born into Catholicism can tell you, once you’re in, you’re in for life. You can run away from it, but it never leaves you. Just when you least expect it, you’ll put up a velvet Last Supper painting above the TV, and stick a dashboard Jesus in your SUV.
As a recovering Catholic, I love checking out old churches. Maybe I’m subconsciously facing my fears, but the more realistic Saint statues and lit up candles they have inside, the better.
When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. The Sisters of Loretto prayed to St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters. On the last day of their novena, a mystery man appeared with tools, and built a spiral staircase for them. He built it, then split town under cover of darkness, without receiving any payment or thanks.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. It was built without nails — only wooden pegs, and there are many questions about the type of material used in construction.
Some think that St. Joseph himself built it. To this day, nobody knows. Was it St. Joe, or just some carpenter on the run? You decide.