The miraculous staircase in Santa Fe, the wood has been identified

In the book Consecration to St. Joseph, by Fr. Donald Calloway, he writes on page 189 about the miraculous staircase that was built for the Sisters of Loretto in 1873.

He records that in 1996, a study was done by Forrest N. Easley, a forester and wood technologist for the United States Forest Services and the United States Naval Research Laboratory. His extensive study found that the wood of the staircase is spruce, but unlike any other spruce in the world. Additional studies were undertaken, and it was determined that the spruce that most resembles the kind found in the spiral staircase is only found in Israel.



A beautiful chapel. Pity no masses there.

All tickets sold out for the Holy Week concert.

I think we have a great God. lol

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I was teasing you. lol
If I was pressed for a guess, I would say that St. Joseph is with the righteous awaiting the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the bodies that are buried, so he is without a body. And then God would laugh. But angels have no bodies, they are spirits, then God would roll his eyes, and laugh. I would like to say St. Joseph to agree with the sisters. My final answer. lol

Ask an atheist and he’ll have an opinion.

I’ve seen it and it is amazing.

Photos don’t do it justice. If you see it in person, it’s the sort of thing where it just makes you stop and stare at it from different vantage points. You keep wondering, “how is this thing standing?”

The railing was added later IIRC.

I can’t really explain it. It’s either miraculous, or about the finest piece of human craftsmanship imaginable - rendered moreso considering it was supposedly built by one man on a donkey with limited tools, i.e. a hammer and a t square and nothing else.


I do carpentry, not even sure what good a t-square would do with that staircase.

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Something else about it - it doesn’t look all that substantial in person - yet I’ve seen photos with like a dozen people on it. Sans railing, it’s almost like it’d be daunting to walk down it from the top, it’s so vertiginous.

I don’t even think the thing is built with nails.

I’m not one to assume miracles, but this one I utterly can’t explain.

And it’s just as valid as yours.

I’ve looked into this matter before and see no reason to believe that it’s miraculous. It was certainly providential for the Sisters; however, it’s not beyond the skill of man.


Are you sure about this? I thought Jesus and Mary are the only people definitively believed to be in heaven with a body prior to the general resurrection. And some people include Moses and Elijah and Enoc.


I think it was Jesus himself.

He’s a carpenter too.

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Thanks for this link. On further thought I had heard this expressed before. It is certainly a permitted, if not required, belief. And I suppose it makes a lot of sense.

Well, we assume he was a carpenter, but it is not explucit in scripture, is it? The problem with this theory would be the age of the man who built the staircase, we are told he was elderly. Now, Jesus could appear as an elderly man, but why would he.

Which would not precludes Jesus answering St Joseph’s intercession by building it himself.

The reason why I posted this was because of the study done on the wood of the staircase. So that isn’t anything out of the ordinary in your opinion?


If that atheist is Richard Dawkins he’ll tell you that nobody built the staircase but that it assembled itself from bits of firewood that spontaneously came together in this shape during a hurricane. :slight_smile:

In other words, an angel.


In the early 2000s, research by amateur historian Mary Jean Cook identified the probable builder of the staircase as François-Jean “Frank” or “Frenchy” Rochas (1843–1894), a reclusive rancher and occasional carpenter who came to New Mexico from France around the 1870s. A key piece of evidence was a short article in the Santa Fe New Mexican describing his death by murder in 1895, which noted “He was a Frenchman, and was favorably known in Santa Fe as an expert worker in wood. He build [ sic ] the handsome stair-case in the Loretto chapel and at St. Vincent sanitarium.”[13]

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