In Front of Miracle Stairs

By: goodislove

Apr 21 2010

Category: New Mexico

1 Comment

Aperture:f/2.8
Focal Length:6.2mm
ISO:800
Shutter:1/14 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

Of all the things to see and do in Santa Fe, this might be one of my favorites. The miracle stairs at the Loretto Chapel, though smacking of spirituality, jump through that hoop of crass commercialism to emerge as a somewhat campy sideshow church attraction.

Skewing a little more to the sideshow, the miracle stairs are a delight to behold. The story goes that while building the Loretto Chapel, a design flaw was discovered. Basically the folks building the choir loft hadn’t talked with the folks building the chapel and realized there was no way to fit stairs in the chapel. I would not categorize this as a design flaw so much as a general fuck up, but whatever miracle stairs.

The nuns consulted with many a carpenter who laughed at them as carpenters are wont to do, “Oh, ho, ho, ho, my dears, there is no way a staircase will be built there to suit your needs! Ha, ha, ha, silly nuns!”

So they turned to St. Joseph. A few days later a grizzled man on a donkey appeared with a toolbox filled with a t-square, a hammer and a saw. He accepted the challenge and set to work building the miraculous staircase in eight months.

The spiral staircase has no central support, uses no nails and makes two 360 degree turns; facts you will come to learn as you sit in the chapel listening to recorded voices speaking of the miracle stairs in hushed tones. The man finished the stairs and left without payment. The overjoyed nuns repeatedly gave each other high fives and decided to tell everybody it was St. Joseph who built the stairs.

Now with that story out of the way, we get to the real fun. Once you spend a little time marveling at the miracle stairs you can make your way to the chapel gift shop where you can buy an incredible number of items decorated with the likeness of the miracle stairs.

My favorite are the heart pendants adorned with an image of the miracle stairs and your name. If you spend enough time here and go through all of the names, you’ll eventually discover some that are a little bit off, including one that says ‘Total Babe – image of miracle stairs’. I would show you the best of these pendants, but you really ought see it for yourself.

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One comment on “In Front of Miracle Stairs”

  1. […] (Either way, I’ll likely keep it going, but whatever.) […]


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