At the Loretto Chapel, we feel that every person who wants to experience the spiritual, architectural, and historical elements of the Chapel should have that ability.
Welcome to the Loretto Chapel, the home to the iconic and mysterious 'Miracle Stairs'.
This chapel is a former Roman Catholic church that is currently used as a museum and wedding chapel, hosting over 100 weddings and private events annually. The chapel is most well-known for the unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase, a staircase that the Sisters of Loretto have credited St. Joseph with the construction of.
In 1850 the Vicariate of New Mexico was established and immediately a need for a girl's Catholic teaching school was noticed. The Loretto Academy sent 6 sisters to come help, and in 1873 the construction was started on this Gothic Revival Church by the same architects and builders as the Cathedral Basilica. The architect, unfortunately, died before the loft was built, and it became apparent a staircase would be needed, though there was simply no room for one. The sisters prayed a 9-day Novena to St. Joseph the Patron Saint of Carpenters, and lo and behold on the 9th day a carpenter appeared to help. With just a hammer and carpenter square, the mystery carpenter built the Miracle Staircase, which is still to this day an architectural wonder.
The staircase was made of native SW wood and holds 2 complete 360 degree turns, all with no center support pole. The entire weight of the staircase sits on the bottom stair, all 33 stairs resting on one. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to come to walk these 'miracle stairs' and hear more about the legend and speculations behind it.
Before you go stop by the onsite gift shop to pick up rosaries, religious knick-knacks, and souvenirs.
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