Sister Daria Sportak died peacefully on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at Holy Family Home in Winnipeg, MB. 


Mychalina (Lena) was born in Vita, MB with her twin brother Maurice to Olena Stefiuk and Michael Sportak, a farming family, on November 02, 1932.  Her father farmed until his passing in 1944. Her mother continued to raise the family of ten at home, managing the farm with the help of the older children, and kind neighbours. She brought them up with limited means, but rich in faith.


Named Mildred by her teachers, she attained a grade 9 education in her local school. She was very sociable, loved to go to dances, and had many suitors. Mildred left Caliento, finding office work with Canada Packers in Winnipeg, and true to her upbringing, attended Divine Liturgy and various devotional services at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church. It was there that she encountered the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. They were a bit of a mystery to her; vocations were never spoken of at home.


The pastor of her parish announced a youth retreat to be held in St. Boniface, and she decided to attend. Two Sisters facilitated the weekend, and at the end, asked if any girls might be thinking of entering the convent. Everyone raised their hand except Mildred! When asked why not, she replied, “... because the Sisters are so serious, and I’d never be able to laugh!” For two years, the Sisters kept in touch with her, encouraging her. Finally, a friend talked her into entering with her, but when they arrived at the door, her friend ran off, and left her by herself. She hesitated, circled the block three times and went home, thinking she would not fit in. But the seed was planted. When she went to church and saw how the Sisters looked after the children with gentleness, she was convinced. She went home and prayed that the Lord would make her a Sister.


Her family was resistant when she decided to enter. They thought they would never see her again. Her twin brother particularly did not want her to leave. But her grandfather, who had two Orthodox priest brothers, was very pleased, and gave her his blessing.


Mildred entered the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, in Ancaster, ON, on 29 May 1955. She received her habit on 8 December of that year, taking the name Daria. She pronounced her first vows on 9 December 1957, and her perpetual vows on 15 August 1961.


One of the first ministries Sister Daria served in was childcare in Mundare and Ituna, which she did for 12 years total. During that time, she was able to upgrade her high school education in Yorkton and Saskatoon, and then had the opportunity to study nursing, graduating from the St. Boniface School of Nursing in Winnipeg in 1973, as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Of her 68 years in religious life, 33 years were in the service of health care. This she practiced in Mundare and Willingdon, in Alberta, and in Winnipeg and Dauphin, in Manitoba. She upgraded her skills in CPR, taking private instruction in cardiac and pulmonary studies, Pharmacology through Keewatin Community College, and Palliative Care in Vegreville.

Sister Daria also studied pastoral care in Ottawa, Mundare and Edmonton, and applied it to her ministry in health care. She was gifted with a compassionate heart, and was able to ease the sufferings of many by her ability to listen.


She was very devoted to Blessed Josaphata, the co-foundress of our Congregation, and in sharing her devotion, many people received significant graces.


Sr. Daria taught catechism in Star-Peno, AB, and for a short time in Prince George, BC. She also worked with youth in Star-Peno and in Dauphin, with Children of Mary in Mundare, and at camp at Madge Lake, SK. In Dauphin, she also worked with the UCWLC. In addition to these ministries, Sister Daria served the community as superior for 20 years in Mundare, Ituna and Dauphin.


Sister Daria took part in workshops and courses to foster her spiritual life as well. She studied Scripture at Newman College in Edmonton, Eastern Spirituality at Mount Tabor, California, and participated in Renewal Programs in Toronto and Glens Falls, NY. She was deeply grateful for all these opportunities.


Growing up in rural Manitoba, Sister Daria loved the outdoors, gardening, or spending time at a lake. She enjoyed visiting her family during vacation times, but also took the opportunity to travel overseas, to the Holy Land, Ukraine, Rome, and several countries of Western Europe.


In her last place of mission before her health began to decline, she was engaged in parish ministry in New Westminster, BC. In whatever way she could be involved with the people, she would, through prayer, singing, visiting, or rolling up her sleeves with the ladies of the parish to make prophy. She loved people and selflessly focused on their needs.


Sister Daria spent her last two years at Bethany Home in Winnipeg, only recently moving to Holy Family Home, to meet the higher level of health care she needed. After only two months, the Lord called her to Himself, peacefully and unexpectedly, during the season of the Resurrection.


She will be remembered fondly for her selfless generosity and compassion, her love of the Lord and his mother, and her devotion to our Blessed Foundress Josaphata. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched.


Sister Daria was predeceased by her parents, Michael and Olena, four brothers, Paul, Maurice, William and John, and four sisters, Frozenia (Rose) Dysievich, Mary Kuzyk, Agnes Buchholz and Anne Makowsky. She is survived by brother Joseph, and sister-in-law Gertrude (John), numerous nieces and nephews, and their families, and the Sisters in her community of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate.


Funeral services will be held on Sunday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. and Monday, April 22, at 10:00 a.m. at Bethany Home, 131 Aberdeen Ave. Winnipeg.  Interment will be at Holy Family Cemetery


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Family Home or to the Lubov Foundation.


May the memory of Sister Daria be Eternal! Христос Воскрес!


A Memorial Tree was planted for SISTER DARIA
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at 1442 Main Street
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