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Published: September 18th 2008
New Mexico is a spiritual place. The high altitude & dry air combine to give the sunlight an extra something that has long attracted artists and mystics.
From the humble moradas of Los Penetentes to the elaborate churches of Santa Fe New Mexico hosts many of the most beautiful churches in North America. I have enjoyed photographing some of them:
At the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, we view the Mysterous Staircase. The story goes that when the chapel was built there was no access to the choir loft. The chapel was too small for a regular stairway.
The Sisters made a novena to St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters. On the 9th & final day a man appeared with a donkey & toolbox asking for work. Months later the staircase was completed and the man who built it disappeared, with neither thanks nor pay.
The staircase continues to amaze engineers to this day due to it's being built without center or side supports. It makes 2 full 360 degree turns.
In the llano country of eastern New Mexico, a beautiful, immense, country, sculpted by wind and water we see many beautiful old churches.
Especially moving are the simple shrines in the lonely countryside built at a time when the nearest church would be a day or mores travel on horseback.
Thousands of pilgrims walk to the Church of Chimayo during Easter week and many thousands more thru the year. Known as the "Lourdes of the West", miraculous cures are attributed to the Holy Earth in the Sanctuary. It is a place of inspiration.
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