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Stephanie Andria Miller, beloved daughter of Richard and Mary Miller, and sister of Vanessa, Charlene and Alex was born on Wednesday, November 24, 1975 at Saint Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba and passed away Saturday, September 30, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta. Stephanie is also survived by her Auntie Sophie, her dog Kenny, three birds and numerous cousins throughout Canada, the United States and Ukraine.
Stephanie began to emerge as a gifted talent at four years of age, playing a piano piece at Mount Royal University. She astonished her parents and music professionals with her insightful and classy performative playing skills, demonstrating at the same time she had the gift of “perfect musical pitch” and would commit herself to further growth and accomplishment. Her progress continued with musical lessons where she excelled in her playing and theory classes. She saw the work of God in the achievements of the great musicians of history. She saw God working with her two budgies who would mimic her music. She encouraged the musical development of all her students, and held popular recitals for them every Christmas season and springtime - end of the school season. Both the parents and her students absolutely loved her, and stayed in touch with her when returning to Calgary from different corners of the world.
With the support of her loving parents, she continued to develop artistic, creative and insightful talents and in her love of God’s created life competed in equestrian horseback riding. She also learnt the French language through full-time studies, participated in ice skating and other sports as well as traditional Ukrainian language and dancing classes. Apart from honing her skills, during her childhood she greatly enjoyed spending time with her Baba (grandmother), Gigi (grandfather), aunts, uncles and cousins in Winnipeg and Steinbach, Manitoba.
She loved Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and Our Mother Mary. Stephanie advised her little sister Vanessa not to let others bother her about her beliefs. She was named after her Baba, Stephanie (Stella) Mucz, a devout Ukrainian Catholic immigrant and wife of Servant of God Nicholas Mucz. She especially treasured spending time and praying with them as a child - and she cherished those memories for the rest of her life on earth. As an adult she wrote: “Baba was and is my favorite person in the world. She was distressed, you can see that in all photos. Hard life, we can only imagine her journey. So generous...She was the closest to perfect person and no one comes close to her goodness". Her grandparents experienced a hard communistic life - Communism seized her Gigi’s 16-acre farm. Stephanie had great empathy for them. Her Baba was so generous and loving to Stephanie…she truly was to Stephanie the closest perfect person and what God intended for everyone. No one comes close to her Baba’s goodness to all godly people.
Stephanie was blessed academically (in most subjects) and had a witty sense of humour. Upon graduation she studied Broadcasting at Mount Royal College and later enjoyed working at a local radio station. She saved to travel and work across the Pacific in hostels, picked mangos in Fiji for approximately $4 a day, taught piano in Hawaii and undertook other jobs.
After years abroad she returned to Canada and taught piano to people of all ages. From children to students suffering from Alzheimer’s disease – she loved them. It brought her joy to watch her students smile and succeed, and it made her happy to bake for them and others.
She was a very soft-hearted soul. Her love for all creatures was remarkable - from caring for stray kittens, to ensuring we pulled over to check if a gopher that crossed the road was okay, to picking up injured wild birds - the suffering of creatures and hymns that praised the Holy Name of Jesus regularly brought her to tears.
Stephanie supported the freedom of animals, Canadians, Americans, Ukrainians and all God’s created creatures and people in the world. Her birds were such a blessing that she made tree branches in her home and allowed them to fly freely. It’s not surprising that they were so happy their chirping mimicked the joyful chords she played on the piano.
Apart from the joy her students brought to her life, Stephanie was happy playing praise and worship songs in Church. She appreciated when family would join her mentioning the special people there and invited us by writing: “to all to come and worship this Sunday. Ginger will be there of course. Much love, Steph & Ms. Ginge (noodle)”. She also enjoyed sharing stories about Saint Francis (her favourite saint) and Franciscans. After the 9/11 attacks she lovingly wrote about a Catholic Franciscan priest whom she watched “praying and looking helpless, talking to God before his death”. God was glorified through her animals too, especially Kenny, her birds and the late Ginger, all of whom brought many years of happiness to her students, her family and the general public.
One of the highlights of her life on earth was her pilgrimage to Medjugorje, where the Mother of God continues to appear sharing messages for the world. While visiting, God used Stephanie’s heart to help. After she climbed to the top of Mount Krizevac, she found a starving stray dog lying under the Cross. Stephanie placed the dog over her shoulders and proceeded down the hill to ensure she could bathe, feed and give him a haircut. She couldn’t wait to return to Medjugorje and hoped to save enough for another trip. Upon return she wrote: “It was absolutely amazing and fantastic and unbelievable. I wish I was back there. I met people like Baba who were so so kind to me”.
She also wrote about a book she was reading that she bought where Father Yozo was living at the time: “It is a beautiful book called ‘Voici ta Mère'". Stephanie was full of the Holy Spirit in Medjugorje. Her natural glowing beauty was heightened during her stay. She was thrilled praying rosaries. After being offered to take anything from a local shop owner’s store, she chose one pretty pink rosary and wrote: “…you can never have too many right?”
Stephanie was a lot more cultured, sophisticated, classical, street smart, loving and sensitive than anyone realized. She was a true gift from God, so very, very special. A soft and pure hearted soul. We rely on the promise from God that: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” Matthew 5:8.
A private funeral mass was held at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Calgary, Alberta, celebrated by Father Roman Planchak and Father Peter Babej. She is buried in Eden Brook Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers people can choose from the following:
1. Offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of Stephanie’s soul at any Catholic Church
2. Pray and fast for the repose of Stephanie’s soul and for the intentions of her parents
3. Donate to Good Shepherd Healing Ministries Horse Rescue & Learning Center: https://gshmhorserescue.com/
4. Donate to Rory O'Neill founder of Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue: http://www.rockymountainanimalrescue.com/overview/