The Miraculous Staircase in Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

When our friends heard we’re going to Santa Fe, they suggested us to stop at Loretto Chapel. They said it’s a beautiful church with the miraculous staircase, where their son got married. After I googled it, I knew I have to put Loretto Chapel in our itinerary.

What is Loretto Chapel?

From its name, we know that it’s a church. But what was a Roman Catholic church, now it is used as a museum and a wedding chapel.

Loretto Chapel is known for its unusual spiral staircase that has two 360 degrees turns and no visible means of support. It is also said that the staircase was built without nails, only wooden pegs.

The History of the Miraculous Staircase in Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel was built in 1878 without access to the choir loft twenty-two feet above. The Sisters of the Chapel asked carpenters around for solutions but all said it needed a ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior of this small Chapel. Then they made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. He started the work and completed the staircase to the choir loft. But the carpenter disappeared without pay and thanks once his work had done. The Sisters searched for the man with no trace, and some believed that he was St. Joseph the carpenter himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.

Santa Fe & Albuquerque - Loretto Chapel


The Beautiful Loretto Chapel

Like most churches built in the 1800s, Loretto Chapel has a Gothic architecture style. When I walked into the chapel, I felt like I walked into one of the buildings in Gotham City. But peaceful was what I felt once inside the chapel.

The miraculous staircase stood magnificently at the back of the chapel. People lit candles and said their prayers. The stained glasses added a touch of beauty to this chapel. No wonder it’s one of the favorite places for a wedding. Even it doesn’t function as a church anymore, everybody kept their voices low to respect others who came for a quiet time.

Tips: – Chapel may close without notice for special events; call ahead to be sure it’s open. – Visit when they just open to beat the crowd. – You can only see the staircase; you can’t climb it to the choir loft.

Hours of operation: Mon-Sat 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Sun 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Address: 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505) 982-0092.

Wedding Information: Call (505) 982-0092. Email

Visited: June 2014.

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  1. What a beautiful and intriguing story! I love learning little details like that. That spiral staircase is stunningly beautiful!

    1. Umiko Buhl says:

      Yes, an impressive staircase in a beautiful chapel! I’m glad our friend told us about the chapel.

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