Sister Veronica Emmick (Susan Lavon), who was a member of the Carmelite Monastery in Baltimore for 73 years, died Oct. 11, 2020, at Maria Care Center, of Covid-19. She was 91.
She was the daughter of the late Stephen Powers Emmick and Mary Lillian Burk in Lewisport. She was born and grew up on the family farm in Hancock County. “Sue” attended Beech Grove School and Lewisport Consolidated School for grades 1-8 and the Ursuline Sisters’ Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Maple Mount for high school. She entered the Carmelite Monastery at Caroline and Biddle Streets, Baltimore, Maryland, on Nov. 14, 1947, and made her solemn vows as Sister Veronica of the Holy Face on June 12, 1952.
Sister Veronica moved with the community to Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, in 1961 and found a new freedom in caring for the beautiful grounds surrounding the monastery. Over the years she planted the “meadow” with specimen trees that remain monuments to her love of nature and the extravagant variety of its beauty. She was happiest when driving the John Deere around the property, cutting grass with both carefree abandon and careful precision. She was a meticulous groundskeeper skilled in the art of conservation and eager to pass on her ecological wisdom to the younger sisters who care for the property today.
Even though her passion was the fostering of outdoor beauty, she contributed to the everyday life of the community in many ways. She served one term as prioress, a stint as bookkeeper, and in her later years related with compassion and tenderness to the people who came to the monastery door or called on the phone seeking the encouragement of the nuns’ prayer.
The deepest supports of her spirituality and her contemplative life were her books and her music. She read voraciously and delighted in and was comforted by the beauty of classical music and opera. Her iPad and Kindle were the great gifts to her elder years. There was something “secular” about Sister Veronica, and her reading extended far beyond theology and spiritual writings.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, John Powers Emmick and Jesse Stephen Emmick.
She is survived by her sister, Betty Emmick Allard; and sisters-in-law, Beverly Emmick and Regina Emmick; and by nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.
Due to the restrictions of the coronavirus, a virtual Memorial Mass was celebrated for Sister Veronica in the midst of her community at the Carmelite Monastery on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Father Tim Stephens, S.J. presided from Atlanta, Georgia, and the liturgy was livestreamed to relatives and friends. Sister Veronica’s Carmelite Sisters buried her privately in the community’s plot at New Cathedral Cemetery on Oct. 13, 2020.