The Story behind the Guest Room Beds

For the last several months, Sister Mary Magdalene has been collecting pallets and other wood leftover from the job site construction. A few construction crew members were very generous and more than willing to help Sister transport her new found treasures (aka pallets).

After a few conversations with our Contractor, Joe, Sister was able to explain to him what wood she was hoping to save from our trees. A generous man who did the excavation for the site volunteered to have the wood milled for Sister.

This wood when it came back several months later was stored in a different shed outside so that it could “dry out” for several months before Sister could use it.

The wood from our trees (mostly pine) was run through a planner. It took many passes to clean it up and many of the construction workers were in awe to see a nun woodworker.

All of the usable oak from the old parlor was saved by Sister (the first picture), the 4x4 posts (in the picture the three boards nearest to Joe—the guy in red) used to hold up the cement wall of the basement were used as the posts for the foot and head boards. As the wood oak for the new wing arrived, Sister Mary Magdalene, eyes it (third picture) and was able to use several “scraps” for the headboards in the third guestroom.

Using the planned, cut wood from the previous middle picture, Sister Mary Magdalene cuts the mortise for the side rail hooks. These mortise cuts were on both head and foot boards for every bed—that’s 40 total pieces to mortise and it took a long time!

In between mortising, Sister worked on the main panels for the headboards. These are held together by biscuits, screws, and glue.

After the panels boards and attached together, they are glued into a custom cut dado that runs the side of the panel pieces.

After the headboard and side rails are completed, the pieces were temporarily assembled in the infirmary stockroom. In order to check the width of the mattress, Sister made a temporary foot board as seen in this picture. She also had a huge piece of cardboard she used as the mattress in order to get the dimensions right.

Once the dimensions were tweaked, the foot board made, stain and finish were applied, and the approval for the temporary occupation obtained, then Sister transferred all the pieces upstairs to the guest dining and living room and re-assembled for finishing touches.


Then, thanks be to God! The beds were completed and moved into the guestrooms.