Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
The story of Shrine of the Immaculate Conception parishioner Emily Milner, who turned 100 years old, and her sage outlook on life was editor Nichole Golden’s favorite assignment of 2018. In this image Msgr. Henry Gracz, left, her Atlanta pastor, presents Milner with a poster size birthday card. Standing behind her is Melvin Denham of Orlando, Fla., her youngest grandson.


Lesson on living a full life a memorable story

By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published January 10, 2019

ATLANTA—The year 2018 began by interviewing a woman whose 100-year life coincided with a remarkable period of Atlanta history and a connection to a saint.

Winter weather prevented me from getting together at least once with Emily Milner, known as “Miss Emily” to fellow parishioners at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We were finally able to meet in the Shrine’s parlor. I chatted with her for a couple of hours, but honestly could have spent the entire day with her.

She celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 18 last year.

The story, “‘Keep God in your heart,’ says Shrine’s lively centenarian” offered her secret to living not only a long life, but a full, rich life.

Miss Emily detailed events from long ago as if they happened yesterday. She is the oldest living alumna of Our Lady of Lourdes School. Her family learned of the school through Maybelle Stephens Mitchell, who employed Milner’s aunt. Maybelle was the mother of “Gone with the Wind Author,” Margaret Mitchell.

When Milner’s mother died, the young girl was sent to the motherhouse of St. Katharine Drexel to be educated there by the Blessed Sacrament Sisters.

“She was in a wheelchair then. She was a saint while she was living,” recalled Milner about Katharine Drexel. “She was a beautiful lady.”

As a teen, Milner returned to Atlanta to attend high school, married and raised a family.

Her life, like many long ones, has known sorrow including the death of one of her daughters.

I thought about Milner many times in 2018. She continued to attend Mass weekly, formed new friendships throughout life, stayed informed on current affairs, and votes.

Milner shared that her faith, being grateful and keeping active were keys to longevity.

“God gives you seven days a week and out of those, you can give him one,” she said.

Milner is devoted to praying the rosary and owns many special beads, including a 100th birthday rosary. She sleeps with rosary beads under her pillow.

Milner’s friend Carole Scofield said the senior is doing well.

“On any given Sunday she is given hugs by at least a dozen parishioners on their way to communion. She still wants to walk unassisted to communion,” said Scofield.

On Nov. 11, Scofield was on her way to church when she heard a story about Armistice Day 1918.

“When I sat down next to her we chatted to our friends that Miss Emily was living on that day. It really brings it home when you think about it like that,” remarked Scofield.

Milner will be 101 this month.

Read The Georgia Bulletin’s 2018 story on Emily Milner.