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March 22, 2023

A Profile on Deaconess Sophie Miller in Honor of Women’s History Month

Changing lives, one dime at a time.


In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating one woman whose commitment continues to have an enduring impact.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” In the case of Deaconess Sophie Miller, those acorns were dimes, collected one at a time, to deliver on her vision of a home for senior adults in Southern California. It’s her compassion and drive that has been at the foundation of ECS for the past century.

In the years following the First World War, Deaconess Sophie Miller was involved in serving the Diocese of Los Angeles. In the course of her work for the Church, she became aware of the desperate situation of many widows of the clergy of the Diocese.

Deaconess Miller knew of a number of clergy widows who were living in near destitute conditions. The plight of the widows led her to discuss the matter with Bishop Horsefall Johnson, asking his endorsement to build a retirement community to serve the diocese and especially the clergy widows. The Bishop became enthusiastic about her proposal and not only gave it his endorsement but also his active support in raising funds for the project. 

Deaconess Miller went throughout the Diocese promoting the need for a retirement home. Everywhere she went, she took along a coin holder where dimes could be inserted as donations to the cause. It would take a lot of dimes to realize her dream. However, through her efforts, others came to support her idea with additional, and sometimes sizable contributions to her cause. 

Through the community’s support of small and large financial gifts, Deaconess Miller’s vision was realized in 1923 when The Episcopal Home for the Aged opened in Alhambra, California, welcoming twenty-three residents. That was nearly 100 years ago, during a time when compassion and advocacy for seniors was something of a progressive, if not radical, concept.

The strength of Deaconess Miller’s convictions still provides inspiration a century later. Her dedication to serving seniors continues today as part of the mission and values of Episcopal Communities & Services (ECS). 

Today, our mission to provide exceptional active adult communities is directly inspired by the compassion, commitment and perspective of Deaconess Sophie Miller, who, dime by dime, changed the lives of thousands of older adults in Southern California.


About us

Founded on four commitments – choice, creativity, confidence, and connection – ECS provides relaxed, maintenance-free, resort-style living in beautiful, continuing care, retirement community settings in Southern California.

Celebrating 100 years of exceptional services for seniors. Proudly nonprofit. Contact us today to learn more.

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