Friday, October 5, 2012

The Staircase

Need a Miracle, Ask a Saint
By: Daniela Delvescovo

Movie Review of
The Staircase
Director: Karen Arthur 
Cast: Barbara Hershey, Diane Ladd
"Faith is not only believing in what you can't see, 
but daring to do what can't be done."
~ Mother Madalyn

The Staircase is a story that follows the real legend of the amazing staircase at the Sisters of  Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

This made-for-TV movie is surprisingly one of the best religious films I have ever seen. It brings the tale of a miracle to life by adding dramatic elements that keep the story dynamic. I would recommend it for all ages! It may not be interesting to very young children, but it will certainly keep both pre-teens and adults entertained. 

Mother Madalyn (played by Barbara Hershey) is an accomplished nun who is determined to build a chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the late 1870's. While building her chapel, she discovers something has gone horribly amiss: There are no stairs to connect the first floor of the chapel to the choir loft above.

The builder says there is nothing he can do because the space inside the church was already very limited; a staircase would not only block the windows, but would also eliminate much of the valuable pew-space.

Mother Madalyn is distressed by this news, because she wants more than anything for music to fill the chapel. To make matters worse, it begins to look like she will never be able to see her life's work play out: Mother Madalyn is dying. 

She puts her trust in God, and she and the sisters of the convent pray a novena to St. Joseph. The next day, a man with an unknown past arrives and offers to build them their staircase, which starts a series of events that changes the lives of the nuns and other characters forever. 

One of the reasons I think this movie is so captivating is because it deals with a still viewable miracle.  It also has a message that I haven't seen so strongly in a movie before: When you pray for help from a saint, amazing things can happen.

For instance, whenever I lose something, I ask St. Anthony (the patron Saint of lost things) for his help, and I always find what I'm looking for in the next few minutes. I love how the movie emphasizes the value of doing this. 

I feel like this film lets people see that the Saints really are here to help and that through God they make miracles happen every day. 

"He who prays most receives most."
~St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

So next time you find yourself in a hopeless situation, try praying a novena to St. Jude, or if you find yourself  nervous about upcoming travels, pray a novena to St. Christopher. The possibilities are endless. 

There really is a patron saint for everything. So if you find yourself in distress, don't fret: Say a novena!  

For a list of Saints and prayers for their help, visit our website at

You can order the DVD of "The Staircase" at here.

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (please feel free to post comments below):

1. Who is your favorite Saint?
2. Have you ever prayed with a Saint and experienced a miracle? 
3. Why do you think it is beneficial to pray with the Saints? 


Cindy Lucas said...


Anonymous said...

I know the history behind 'the Staircase' and have read accounts of it, even watched a trailor for it, but don't remember seeing the made for TV movie, glad the DVD is available. As mentioned this is one of those 'visible miracles' that can still be seen today and still puzzles builders how it was done. Another great review, thank you.

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