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Lenten Journaling in Community- #1

Loretto Chapel- Santa Fe

Loretto Chapel- Santa Fe  
is a former Roman Catholic Church
 that is now a museum and wedding chapel.
It is know for the unusual
 helix-shaped spiral staircase-
the "Miraculous Stair". 
Popular lore states that the Sisters of Loretto
 credited St. Joseph with its construction.
There is no center support in the stairs 
that rise 20 feet to the choir loft while making 2 full turns. 
The wooden staircase is held together with wooden pegs
 and glue and no nails or other hardware. 
The wood is a type of spruce,
not native to New Mexico  
It was built between 1877 and 1881 
and the handrails were added in 1887.
Modern day woodworkers acknowledge
 the remarkable feat of workmanship done
 with crude hand tools,
 no electricity and minimal resources. 
Even the mathematic theory for the execution was difficult.

The untimely death of the architect in 1879,
might account for the challenge
 of a choir loft and no stairs.  
 According to "legend",  the Sisters of Loretto 
prayed for a solution and a mysterious stranger appeared.
 He offered to build the staircase, labored and then left. 
In the early 2000's a historian identified
 the probable builder of the staircase as 
Francois-Jean "Frank" or "Frenchy" Rochas- 1843-1894. 
He was a reclusive rancher and occasional carpenter 
who came to New Mexico from France in the 1870's. 
A newpsaper article published after his murder in 1895,
 credited him as the expert builder 
of the staircase in the Loretto Chapel. 
She also found a notation in a logbook
 for the sisters of $150 for wood in 1881. 

Regardless of the "story", the Chapel
 is a lovely place to sit, meditate and
listen to music.
The windows and finishings are lovely.
It is a sacred place to pray, and listen.
Even though it is favorite spot
 for tourists in New Mexico,
 it retains the "presence of the divine."
Come, Lord Jesus.


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Lenten Journaling in Community- #1

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