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Friday, May 01, 2009

St. Joseph the Worker

- Barbara Hershy and William L. Peterson in The Staircase

This day reminds me of an old made-for-tv movie that starred William L. Peterson (of CSI fame) ..... The Staircase. The movie is based on a true story about the Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Here's what their site says of the staircase ....

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel 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. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

In the movie, the unknown carpenter, played by Peterson, is St. Joseph in desguise. I was really touched by the movie.

- the staircase at the Loretto Chapel


Blogger Maria said...

Hi Crystal,

Finally stopping by to say hi via Jeff.

I didn't really enjoy the movie all that much, but it was ok. I'm a native Santa Fean and have been told the story of the Staircase all my life. It really is pretty neat up close and personal. My mom climbed those stairs many times when she was a girl and attending school there.

Today, realizing it was St. Joseph the Worker day, I didn't even think of the Staircase, but it is a good day to remember that.

Take care.

7:48 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Maria,

Thanks for visiting.

It's been a long time since I saw the movie so I may be remembering it as better than it was. Or I could be letting an appreciation for William Peterson skew my judgement :)

I wonder if Jeff will post anything while he's in London - that would be interesting.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I just remember seeing the movie and being far more cynical since I grew up here. It's kinda like how I feel about "Death Comes for the Archbishop."

I never would have remembered William Peterson being in the movie if you hadn't posted about him. How funny.

Yeah, I'd love to see pictures from England from Jeff and I can't wait to hear about his bil's ordination to the diaconate. I love ordination Masses.

8:45 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, I probably wouldn't have watched the movie if Peterson hadn't been in it - I'd been a fan of his since he was in that scary first Hannible Lector movie, Manhunter.

Never seen an ordination mass. Maybe Jeff will make and post a video! :)

12:32 AM  
Blogger victor said...

Your post got me thinking about Joseph and the fun he must have had with his family back then.

Although I still don't read The Good Book cause The Vatican still as not sent me a copy but nevertheless, I've managed to figure out that Jesus had I think four brothers and two sisters.

Coming from a family myself who also lived with six living siblings in the pass, I can imagine a little of what Joseph must have gone through. Hey I wouldn't be surprised to learn that after Jesus chose to do His Father's Will and left His earthly family for about three days that Joseph might have been pretty UPSET with Jesus.

Who knows, maybe Joseph had it out with His wife and because of Her Faith Joseph just left for awhile cause you know how woman can be sometimes. :)

Of course I'm just guessing all this but in faith I believe that I, Me and Myself will eventually learn the Truth in Faith and God's Time.

God Bless you Saint Joseph and please continue to keep me in Your Prayers.

Thank you for being so kind and understanding at times Crystal.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Hee. You know, I haven't seen that Hannibal Lector movie. I guess I'm only familiar with him from TV. But it's fun following an actor you like throughout his career. :)

I'm hoping Jeff will post something about the Ordination. If you ever get a chance to attend an Ordination Mass, go. It's really one of the most amazing things to witness.

I've been twice. The first time I went I went to make sure I got the setting and scene right for my novel, as that was the opening scene in my story. Then second was just because it was so cool, I wanted to go again. One of the priests ordained ended up in my city and is such a wonderful man.

11:25 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


you know how woman can be sometimes. :) :)

11:37 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Novel!? We need details :)

11:38 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I'll post about it in my blog soon. It's driving me a bit crazy, but it's really about a woman trying to figure out who she is and she happens to have a pesky twin brother who is a priest.

It was just her story and then he started to grow on me.

11:43 AM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

This reminds me of Lilies of the Field? Did you ever see that? Poitier out in the desert building the church for the nuns? I always liked that movie, though I haven't seen it in a long time.

12:52 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Maria, I answered on your blog.

4:41 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


I've never seen that movie. I do like Poitier - maybe I'll look for it :)

4:42 PM  
Blogger victor said...

Forgive me Crystal but I thought that I would sneak in a message for cowboyangel in here.

What you wouldn't do that Victor! :)

Anyway I wanted to place a small message in your blog cowboyangel to say hello but this msg. below popped up;

>Comments on this blog are restricted to team members.

You're currently logged in as victor. You may not comment with this account.

Google (Blogger)<

Could you please tell me where I went wrong?

Thank You again Crystal

6:42 AM  
Blogger Maria said...


I never got your post on my blog, will you try again? I'm curious to know what you said.

5:05 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...


I don't know what that means. I'll have to check my settings. I didn't make any changes on purpose.

Sorry, Crystal, for using your blog to pass messages!

5:27 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Maria, it's posted on "Maria's other blog".

5:53 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

William, no worries :)

6:39 PM  
Blogger victor said...

Cowboyangel, like Crystal said
>William, no worries :)

I'll try again later and who knows I may get to know you so well and also call you William!

I hear ya! God only Knows for sure Victor :)

God Bless,


7:35 AM  
Blogger victor said...

Whoops! I forgot to thank you again Crystal :)

7:53 AM  

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