Recently I visited Santa Fe where there are historic chapels, some of the very first in the United States. One of these churches is the Loretto Chapel, the home of The Miraculous Staircase. The sisters of Loretto were one of, if not the first order of nuns in the United States. They desired a church and a school so that they could teach, which was built over a period of 16 years and was Gothic in its construction, fashioned after a chapel in Paris.
The upstairs had a loft area for a choir; however during the building of the church, a way to access that area was forgotten and no stairs were built. Mother Superior Lucia Perea so wanted there to be steps to the choir. The sisters had placed the construction of their chapel under the patronage of St Joseph, who is the patron saint of carpenters and builders. And so it was that they began a novena asking for his help. As per the legend, on the ninth day, an older man came to the school. He was a carpenter and offered to build the much needed staircase.
The carpenter worked inside the chapel with the doors locked as he labored on the staircase. Upon completion of his beautiful work, he disappeared without receiving any payment for the materials and his work. There are no nails or screws or center support; however there are hundreds of square wooden pegs to hold the pieces of wood together. It is also legend that the type of wood used was not of the area, that he traveled to get the wood he needed for the staircase and apparently, the type of wood used is still unknown today.
The Miraculous Staircase is a tribute to the power of prayer and miracles in our life. When we ask for that which we need through prayer and meditation, God, the Universe, will always help us.