It's time to continue our explorations of the creative arts in the monastery by featuring our Junior Wood Carver Nun, Sr. Mary Magdalene. When we asked Sister how she took up wood carving last year, she relates that her inspiration came from our Sr. Mary Ellen Timothy. Sister had taught herself wood carving in the 1960s, and had fashioned several beautiful pieces, including our choir purificator box with an inlaid fleur-de-lis design. After Sister's death in June 2011, her basement wood shop became a storage area. While helping clean out the room, Sr. Mary Magdalene came across a holy water font carved by Sister, and thought, "Hey! I could do this!" and began teaching herself, by means of books and consultations with our workman, Gary Williams, and, of course, the most important teaching method of all, trial and error. Her skill could also be attributed to genetics. After telling her father about her forays in carving, he told Sister how he loved wood carving in his younger days. Sister has already made quite a few items, including holy water fonts, and is working on a statue of St. Dominic, a St. Nicholas' statue, and a new stable for the chapel's Nativity set. One of her biggest challenges is finding the right kind of wood. Already she has mastered the various machinery in the shop, including the ban saw, scroll saw, dremmel, power sander, router, and a drill press.
We thank God that the sounds of sanding are heard once again in the monastery basement, and ask your prayers for Sr. Mary Magdalene as she takes up the wood carver mantle. We are sure that Sr. Mary Ellen Timothy is interceding for her (and smiling down upon at her). Here is a slideshow of Sr. Mary Magdalene's wood shop and work.