The Loretto Chapel: A Miraculous Event, or Just Another Fugitive Story?

Loretto Chapel Santa Fe NMYou 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.

In Santa Fe, I had no shortage of Catholic churches to choose from, but the Loretto Chapel was first on my list. Briefly, the story about the Chapel’s Miraculous Staircase goes:

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.

8 thoughts on “The Loretto Chapel: A Miraculous Event, or Just Another Fugitive Story?”

  1. I actually stood before the staircase as the story was told. It’s so strange that the spiral staircase can even stand on its own. Looking to the choir loft, it’s believeable that the only way up was by some miracle. We weren’t allowed to climb on the stairway but we touched it and saw first hand how the story could be true. I’m an “old” Catholic too, so, sure, I believe it could happen. It’s amazing! Go see it. Margie Davis Italy, TX

  2. The church is now a museum, and they also rent it out for weddings and such. I would’ve gotten married there in a heartbeat, it’s really pretty.

    Someday we’ll go see all the glitz and glamor in Italy. I can only imagine what those churches are like. Lucky you, Theresa!

  3. The Loretto Chapel is beautiful and that staircase is awesome! Thanks for the photos! Have you ever been to Italy? Churches are everywhere and each one is more beautiful than the next! The Vatican is a must-see and the Sistine Chapel takes your breath away!

  4. everybody`s gotta believe in something!, i believe i`ll have another beer !
    i don`t care if it rains or freezes long as i got my plastic jesus settin on the dashboard of my car, ooold road song!


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