Sr. Veronica Shunick, O.S.B., Obituary

Sister Veronica Shunick O.S.B., 86, of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, died Saturday, April 25, 2009 at the Monastery.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday at the St. Mary Monastery Chapel.  Burial is in Calvary Cemetery, Rock Island.  Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Monastery, where a Christian wake services will be held at 7:00 p.m.  Memorials may be made to St. Mary Monastery, 2200 88th Ave. W., Rock Island, IL  61201.  Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, Milan, is in charge of arrangements.
Sister Veronica was born on February 20, 1923 in Monmouth, Ill., a daughter of Richard and Sadie Cavanaugh Shunick.
She attended Immaculate Conception School, Monmouth and graduated from Monmouth High School.  Sister Veronica received her B.A. in Education from St. Ambrose College and attended the Art Institute in Chicago.  She received her M.A. in Art from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Sister Veronica entered the Benedictine Community on September 8, 1941 and made her first profession as a Benedictine Sister on July 29, 1943.  She served 18 years as an elementary teacher and/or administrator at St. Mary’s Grade School, Nauvoo; St. Mary’s School, Moline; St. Roch’s School, LaSalle; St. John’s, Bradford; and  Holy Family and St. Boniface Schools, Peoria.  Sister Veronica served as Community Schools Supervisor for the Sisters of St. Benedict for six years and as Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Peoria for two years.  She was art instructor at St. Mary’s Academy, Nauvoo from 1969 to 1995.  Known for her beautiful woodcuts and a variety of works of art, Sister Veronica prepared the art and environment for the Monastery Chapel.
She is survived by her Benedictine Sisters; brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Margery Shunick, Scottsdale, Arizona; sister-in-law, Liane Shunick, Monmouth; and her nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Sister Bernadette Shunick O.S.B., Vera Cofield and Rosemary Shunick; and brother, Thomas Shunick.
Online condolences may be left at

23 thoughts on “Sr. Veronica Shunick, O.S.B., Obituary

  1. Elizabeth Durbin

    Dear Sisters,

    I am sorry to hear of Sr. Veronica’s passing. My prayers are with all of you and her family. Sr. Veronica was a wonderful teacher and inspired many students at the Academy. And, when I worked at the Academy, it gave me such pride to bring all of the prospective students into her classroom to visit with her and see her classroom

    Elizabeth Durbin
    class of 79′


  2. Sr. Veronica had a profound influence on my life. My love of art began with her and her teachings and continues to this day. She will be missed by all. I feel so blessed for her in my life.
    Juliana Wegeng Kozik 82


  3. Jennifer Thomas Juvingo

    Dear Sisters,

    How sad I was to receive the email regarding Sr. Veronica’s death. I remember her to be very strict, but in a loving, God-honoring way. She taught me much about art and gave me confidence when I felt I lacked any and all creativity. I look forward to seeing some former SMA teachers and staff at the wake tomorrow.

    Jennifer Thomas Juvingo ’95


  4. When I was first inquiring about becoming an Oblate, I attended the Oblate retreat in Nauvoo. Sister Veronica was one of the speakers. I so enjoyed her talk about art and her visit to the Phillipines. It was then that I realized that ministry comes in many forms. Sister Veronica showed us another side of God through her art. I am so happy that I met her. May she rest in God’s peace.


  5. Devin Noone Kerrigan

    God Bless!


  6. Joanna Jacyna Divakaran

    Dear Sisters,
    I am so saddened by the passing of Sr. Veronica. She was such a great Art teacher to me while at SMA. I can say she definitely fired many a spark in me and influenced my dedication to art and creativity. I cannot look through all my art work from SMA and not be reminded of her and her determination to make something good out of my abilities.
    My dad is lucky to own one of her beautiful wood cuts. I am sure Sr. Veronica will be gracing heaven’s walls with her creative touch!
    May God bless her and be with All of you during this time,

    Much love,


  7. Susan (Rael) Tanner

    Hello All,
    I am very sadden to hear of Sr. Veronica’s passing. She was a great friend to me when I attend school in Nauvoo. One of the few who reached into and comforted my soul. She taught me much about the work of God in nature and how to try to transform that beauty into works of human art. God has taken her home and I am rejoicing in knowing she is now an angel watching over all of us.


  8. Annie Frasor Lunn

    Dear Sisters,
    I was saddened by the news of Sister Veronica’s passing. She was such a wonderful lady and teacher. She had a sincere smile that I will remember always.

    I loved her art class. Sr. Veronica helped me appreciate art history and convinced me I was actually creative. I will treasure her woodcut of the Holy Family that hangs in my home. It was given to my husband and me as a house warming gift from one of the Sisters. This woodcut will continue to be my most treasured piece of art.

    My prayers are with all of you and her family.

    Annie Frasor Lunn 70′


  9. Jody (Rice) Perez

    I know so many of the sisters didnt quite “get me” I cant say that of Sister Veronica. It saddened me when I learned of her passing. The world was definately a better place for having had her in it. May she rest in peace


  10. catherine baggett (thomas)

    I am so saddened to hear about Sr Veronica’s passing, I remember when I first met her on my tour with Elizabeth and she asked me if I had an intrest in art and I said I cannot draw not even a stick figure and she told me you can do whatever you put your mind to, and if you take my class I will have you drawing. She and her family will be in my prayers.


  11. Sister Veronica framed the foundation of my creativity by teaching me how to honor, respect and draw upon what moved me from within. She guided me to see what was hidden beneath the surface of all God’s creations and to bring it into view for others to see — as I saw it. Her patience with the process (and me!) allowed me to discover much more than art; I discovered what was in my heart and that art could move me wherever it was found.

    Sr. Veronica’s work will now be reflected as a still life portrait, but the lessons she taught will live on forever.


  12. Cathy McDonald (75)

    I so wanted to see her when we go to our reunion in May. She was the only teacher that ever made a difference in me. She pushed me when I needed it and made me see that I could do more than I thought. When ever I think of St. Mary’s she is who I think of, she will live in my heart forever. Thank you Sister Veronica for all you taught me.


  13. Valerie Greer Weeks

    I have never had an ounce of artistic talent. (I joke with the kids at my school every year about my stick people drawings.) Sister Veronica always had faith in her students and it is because of her that I have a great appreciation of art.

    Last October, along with the class of ’73, I spent several hours with Sister Veronica. Her smile and cheerful attitude brighten my day. I will always remember her cheerfulness and her faith in God. She will be missed but a part of her will always be in the hearts of those she touched.


  14. Ruth Wolf Smith '58

    Sr. Veronica always had a smile for anyone. She was a lovely person and will be remembered always. We have 3 of her woodcuts, which are shared with my son and daughter, Deb Walsh, who had a special friendship with her at St. Mary’s. Our thoughts go out to you all and her family.


  15. Sr. Veronica is greatly missed but we try not to be too selfish
    and know that she is with her God in total glory and peace.
    Sr. Veronica touched more lives in her sojourn on this earth
    than we realize and their lives are richer for knowing her.
    She was truly a woman of truth, goodness, and beauty.
    We are receiving many beautiful, heartfelt messages of
    appreciation and consolation and thank everyone for their
    place in her heart and our lives.


  16. Barb (Root) Moga '82

    I always loved Sr. Veronica’s artwork and admired her way with students. Blessings to all as you celebrate her victory over life. She will be missed.


  17. Sister Veronica always remained vividly in my mind throughout my days at St. Mary’s and beyond. Her comments firm yet gentle and smile always made me feel that my hard work in trying to achieve something that never turned out quite right was well worth the effort. She could see a diamond in the rough and knew how to provide just enough pressure without crushing the jewel.

    Her inspiration has come in handy over the years. I feel blessed to have known her on this earth and look forward to catching up with her in the future.

    She will be missed; but her spirit shall be with us forever.

    Deborah Walsh
    Class of 1979


  18. Andrea Kroesen

    I am so saddened by Sr. Veronica’s passing. When I attended Saint Mary’s, I was lucky to have taken her art class. She not only inspired me but also started a life long love of art for me. I had absolutely no talent and she took the time to teach me how to appreciate the beauty and freedom of art. She was truly a remarkable woman who I will remember and appreciate forever.


  19. A belated but heartfelt note to express my sadness at the passing of one of the gentlest spirits I ever met as an inquirer, novate and oblate at St. Mary Monastery–not to mention one of the finest artists, especially with woodcuts, I have had the honor to know.


  20. Janice Kenneally

    I live in Boston. I purchased a lovely black and white woodcut signed by Sister Veronica Julia. There is no date on the work but, it has a title, “The Rice Planting”. Would any one reading this know if this is the same person who could be the artist?
    I am sorry to hear of Sister Veronic’s passing and all her great work.
    My family has also been blessed with a Sister from the Sisters’ of Charity of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    I hope some one will see this note and be able to enlighten me.
    Janice CK.


    • Hi Janice, No one here is familiar with the title of that woodcut and our Sr. Veronica Shunick never signed her name with Julia. It must have been created by someone else – although it is interesting that it would be a woodcut with the name Sister Veronica. Good luck in your research!


  21. Sherry Poehls

    I was raised in Peoria, Illinois and attended Holy Family School from 1956 until my graduation in 1960. I was searching your website for Sister Veronica who was my teacher and our school principal, when I saw this death notice. Since we never knew any last names, I can only assume that she was my teacher. I am so sorry to hear of her passing.

    Sherry Poehls
    Holy Family School, Class of 1960


    • Oblates_admin

      Thank you for your note, Sherry. We all miss her daily. She touched a lot of lives with her gentle and deeply spiritual ways. Blessings to you.


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