BELMONT - Sister Mary Michel Boulus died on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at Marian Center, Sacred Heart Convent, Belmont, NC after a period of declining health. Sister Michel, the daughter of Mike and Lammia Boulus, was born on July 27, 1926 in China Grove, NC. She was a graduate of the 1943 class at Concord High School and in the fall of the same year she entered Woman's College of the University of North Carolina where she earned a BA in mathematics and thus began a long and distinguished career in the field of secondary education mathematics.
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Sister taught math at Concord High School from 1947-49 and in the summer months she earned certificates in Guidance and Constitutional Law at Columbia University, New York and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
On August 2, 1949, Jumela Boulus ,as she was then known, entered the Sisters of Mercy in Belmont, NC at which time she took the name Sister Mary Michel. Ten years later she earned an MA in Math from John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH.
Sister's professional life was one of distinction involving many areas of ministry. She spent fourteen years teaching high school and college math at O'Donoghue High School, Charlotte, Charlotte Catholic High School, the former Asheville Catholic High School, and Sacred Heart Junior College in Belmont. Her leadership skills led to higher positions with the Sisters of Mercy Administration where she served in General Administration for eleven years and ultimately as President of Sacred Heart College. When Sacred Heart College closed Sister assumed the Directorship of Food Services for the Sisters of Mercy which she continued until her retirement in 2011.
In recognition of her many contributions in the field of education Sister was awarded several honorary degrees. Her Alma Mater in Greensboro be-stowed on her an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree recognizing her as the first alumna from their college to serve as president of a four year liberal arts college in NC. Belmont Abbey College honored her with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree for the many specialized programs she inau-gurated at Sacred Heart College. She is also entered in the 1947 list of Who's Who In American Colleges And Universities. In 1985 Sister Michel was honored by Archbishop Francis Zayek and His Excellency Ambassador Abdallah Bouhabib and the Lebanese Community of the Carolinas for her efforts in providing a college education for young Lebanese students. A Cedar of Lebanon tree was planted on the front lawn of Sacred Heart College. Again, In 2011 she was honored by a visit from the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Antoine Chedid, at which time he pre-sented the Presidential Shield of the Republic of Lebanon by President Michel Sleiman in recognition of her establishing scholarships for students from Lebanon to study English.
Sister Michel held memberships in the National Catholic Educational Association, Southern Association of Financial Aid and Administrators, Ameri-can Council on Education, Association of American Colleges, Society for College and University Planning, and Southern Association of College and Uni-versity Business Officers, National Catholic Education Association, Mercy Colleges Colloquium A social involvement which was very dear to her heart was the Metrolina Phoenician Club which kept her in touch with her Lebanese heritage of which she was so proud.
She served on the following Boards: Holy Angels Nursery Board of Directors; Sacred Heart College Board of Trustees; Mercy Hospital Board of Direc-tors; St Joseph's Hospital Board of Directors; General Council of the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Mercy Services Board of Directors.
Sister was noted for her ability to "make the impossible happen." Two of the greatest of these was bringing the late Danny Thomas to Belmont and Charlotte as a fundraiser and sponsoring the Ice Capades.
Sister Michel will long be remembered for her sense of hospitality and her gracious reception of everyone she met. It is said of her that she never met a stranger. Sister Michel had a lively sense of humor and a great ability to laugh at herself. Former students still remember her with gentle fondness as someone who really cared.
In addition to her parents, Sister Michel was predeceased by brothers Paul Boulus, William Boulus and sister Sara Boulus Abowd. She is survived by the Sisters of Mercy, and her sister Elizabeth Boulus of Belmont, sister-in-law Deneen Boulus of Michigan and many nieces and nephews.
The Vigil Service and Visitation will take place on Tuesday December 11 at 7 pm at Sacred Heart Convent, Belmont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10am on Wednesday, December 12 in Cardinal Gibbons Chapel, Sacred Heart Convent followed by burial at Belmont Abbey cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Sisters of Mercy 100 Mercy Drive, Belmont, NC 28012
Carothers Funeral Home, Gastonia is serving the family.
Published in Gaston Gazette on Dec. 11, 2012