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Published: Saturday, 3/3/2012

Sister Mary Carola Billat, 1923-2012: Nun served as teacher, principal

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sister Mary Carola Billat, a Notre Dame nun and an educator at Roman Catholic grade schools across northwest Ohio, died Wednesday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania. She was 88.

She was in failing health, Sister Mary Patricia Snyder said. Sister Mary Carola lived since 2010 in the Sisters of Notre Dame's Rosary Care Center.

She last taught about 20 years ago. Afterward, she lived on the Notre Dame sisters' Lial campus near Whitehouse and at the Provincial Center in West Toledo.

She entered the community in 1941, and the former Winifred Margaret Billat became Sister Mary Carola. She made her first vows in 1943.

She taught third through eighth grade.

"She was a very great enthusiast -- optimistic -- and loved the kids," Sister Mary Patricia said. And it was evident in all her relationships with children. "In fact, one of the interesting features is that after all these years, she kept a class list of every class she had."

When former students visited, "she could easily look up what year they were [in] and have fond memories," Sister Mary Patricia said. "She was very outgoing and engaging."

Sister Mary Carola's assignments included Christ the King, Gesu, St. James, and St. Michael schools in Toledo; St. Paul and St. Mary schools, Norwalk, Ohio; St. Joseph School, Maumee; St. Mary School, Lepisic, Ohio; St. Augustine School, Napoleon; Immaculate Conception School, Bellevue, Ohio; St. Michael Ridge, Defiance; Sacred Heart School, Fremont; St. Mary School, Sandusky; St. Wendelin, Fostoria; Immaculate Conception, Port Clinton, and St. Jude School, Fort Wayne, Ind. She also was principal at St. Michael, Sacred Heart, and St. Michael Ridge schools.

She learned piano in childhood, taught music in the classroom, and played organ most places she was assigned. She was a nature-watcher, and her favorite season was spring. She enjoyed visits to the Grand Canyon when she was in Arizona to visit family members.

She was born Nov. 28, 1923, to Harriet and Charles Billat. She helped in the family grocery store and attended St. Louis School in East Toledo.

She was a graduate of Notre Dame Academy and received a bachelor's degree from the former Mary Manse College. She received a master's degree from Ball State University.

Surviving are her sisters, Loretta Auxter and Frances August.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Sisters of Notre Dame Provincial Center Chapel. Arrangements are by the Urbanski Funeral Home.

Tributes are suggested to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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