There wasn’t much time for bookpathing on our recent trip to Santa Fe — one afternoon, night, morning — then on to Taos, but we did wander just beyond the Plaza to St. Francis Cathedral, its building by Father Jean Baptiste Lamy immortalized by Willa Cather in Death Comes for the Archbishop. Visiting the cathedral with its statue of Lamy, fictionalized as Father Latour in Cather’s novel, brings Cather’s words to life, while her words inspire a more meaningful visit.
‘I have an old friend in Toulouse who is a very fine architect. I talked this matter over with him when I was last home. He cannot come himself; he is afraid of the long sea voyage, and not used to horseback travel. But he has a young son, still at his studies, who is eager to undertake the work. Indeed, his father writes me that it has become the young man’s dearest ambition to build the first Romanesque church in the New World.’