Official Home and Headquarters of the OMSDT Knights Templar
The OMSDT is honored and proud to have been given permission by the Loretto Chapel to make this our permanent headquarters and home for our Order.
The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, is a former Roman Catholic church that is now used as a museum and a wedding chapel.
It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase (the "Miraculous Stair"). The Sisters of Loretto credited St. Joseph with its construction. It has been the subject of legend, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder were considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto.
The chapel was commissioned by the Sisters of Loretto for their girls' school, Loretto Academy, in 1873.
The staircase was built sometime between 1877 and 1881. By this point the chapel was substantially complete but still lacking access to the choir loft, possibly due to the unexpected death of the architect, Projectus Mouly, in 1879.
According to the version of events passed down by the Sisters of Loretto, multiple builders were consulted but were not able to find a workable solution due to the confined quarters. In response, the nuns prayed for nine straight days to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.
On the last day of the novena, a mysterious stranger appeared and offered to build the staircase. He worked alone using only a few simple hand tools and disappeared afterwards without collecting his pay or the Sisters learning his identity. More fantastical versions of the story have the work taking place overnight, while according to others it took six to eight months.
In any event, the finished staircase was an impressive work of carpentry, seeming to defy physics as it ascended 20 feet (6.1 m) without any obvious means of support. The Sisters of Loretto viewed its construction as a miracle and believed that the mysterious builder must have been St. Joseph himself. As the story spread, the staircase became one of Santa Fe's most famous tourist attractions.
The staircase as originally built lacked handrails and was reportedly so frightening to descend that some of the nuns and students did so on their hands and knees. Eventually, railings were added in 1887 by another craftsman, Phillip August Hesch. The stairs have been mostly closed to the public since the chapel became a privately-run museum in the 1960s.
Loretto Academy in 1904, including the chapel at center.
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