Jenna was working late. The tourists had all left for the day but the woodwork on the stairs in the chapel needed a little extra love and care. 

As she used the same formula that had been passed down from the sisters, she thought about the troubles at home. 

She knew when she walked in the door later that night that Jimmy would have something to complain about, even though she hadn’t been home all day. 

She rubbed lightly on the delicate woodwork as she thought about the delicate balance of their relationship. Push a little too hard and something was going to snap. 

She tried hard to hold back the tears but they just came. It was all so overwhelming. 

And then she felt a gentle touch on her shoulder. She thought it was one of the other tour guides at the chapel and couldn’t bear to look up. She just sat down on the first step and cried. She felt safe with this person by her side. As her tears flowed, she felt safe for the first time in years. And she felt like she had an answer. She finally knew what she needed to do. 

She looked up to say Thank You, but no one was there. 

The History

The Miracle Staircase at Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, NM

The Miracle Staircase at Loretto Chapel has quite the mystery surrounding it. The chapel was originally built by a French architect in the 1880’s but he died before a way was built from the ground to the choir loft. Unfortunately, because the chapel was so small, there wasn’t space for a full set of stairs forcing the nuns climbed a ladder up and down.

The nuns, who had commissioned the building of the church, spent a great deal of effort to find a solution to this problem without a resolution. They finally chose to pray to Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpentry, for a solution. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a gentleman shows up at their door asking if they have any work for him to do.

The nuns present this man with their problem and he sets to work with his small set of hand tools. Some time later (the time frame is not clear), the beautiful helix-shaped staircase is completed.

The man disappears without the nuns ever paying him or even learning his name.

The stairs are consider a miracle in engineering for the time as there is no center newel post for the risers to attach to. In addition, the type of wood remains a mystery despite several tests being performed to discover what it is.

The chapel was sold to a private party in the 60’s and it is now open to tourists and weddings.

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