In the late spring of 1942, the members of the senior class of Notre Dame of Maryland were preparing for a very important day: Graduation. Their hair was set, their modest makeup applied, and their long white graduation gowns were pressed and spotless. The girls were giddy with anticipation for the memories about to be made, but little did they realize just how unforgettable this day would be. For 49 of the 50 graduates, this afternoon was the culmination of their school career. For graduate number 50, Blanche “Babe” Bielat, not only was it her high school graduation but also it was her wedding day!
Babe was a vivacious and popular senior at Notre Dame. She was well liked for her generosity and sweet nature and was recognized throughout Baltimore by her striking eyes and the deep shine of her brunette hair. Her teachers described her as shy, but those who knew her well remember her as a fun-loving young woman with a larger-than-life personality. On the afternoon of Notre Dame’s 1942 graduation, Babe shared her flare for the dramatic with her classmates.
As the graduation ceremony ended and the Seniors gathered, Babe invited every one of her classmates to follow her to the chapel where she was scheduled to marry Raymond Smith that very afternoon. Led by Babe’s sister, classmate, and maid of honor, the newly minted Class of ’42 processed up Charles Street in their white graduation gowns. Forty-nine young ladies served as bridesmaids to the new Mrs. Raymond Smith.
Some stories become memories. Others become legends. Babe Bielat’s graduation wedding has served as a beloved family story for generations of Notre Dame women. This fall, Babe’s great-great niece, Lucy Britt, will join the true blue sisterhood and is sure to leave her own indelible mark on the school’s history.