Anna Levay was born into the large family of Rosalie Broun and Joseph Levay, with love among the parents and many children. This happy home life came to an end when her mother died after a short illness and five year old Anna was sent to her Aunt Julia, who raised her with her own children in Detroit, Michigan. She was also a cheerful child who adopted a little chicken, nursing its broken leg. Her early religious life was divided between Sunday Mass in the Catholic Church and in afternoon services in the protestant church of Aunt Julia.
In elementary school she attended Holy Cross School in Detroit and then to St. Joseph Hill Academy on Staten Island, New York. She attended College and studied early childhood education at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.
Sister Sebastian taught in schools in Staten Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and in California. This writer remembers her best there when the parish built a kindergarten in the convent to accommodate her class in St. Therese School in San Diego. She was always calm and achieved discipline by the slightest change in her look and tone of voice. The children loved the teacher who was not much taller than they and often, behind her back they would jump up and take comparison measurements. She was able to accompany the songs of the children with her own talent on the piano and voice and gestures that brought the songs to life. At one point in her life she had two parakeets and made sure that she played radio music for them too. She was conscious of spreading happiness in many ways.
During her golden jubilee year she had a chance to go to Rome and here, God granted her some wishes in an almost miraculous way. Upon arrival, she announced that it was her dearest wish to see Sister Leonore Mohl whom she remembered from her early formation. It was explained that Vienna was much too far away from Rome. Along with her fellow Sisters, she attended a pilgrims’ Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and white going out by a side door literally “bumped into” Sister Leonore who had also attended that Mass.
The other wish was to make an urgent request of the Holy Father. Again, we explained that the most she could hope from an audience was to see a white dot at the front of thousands of people. She was disappointed but God had another surprise in store for his faithful handmaid. Some days later there was a smaller celebration at which she could get close enough to whisper into his ear. Let us leave the content of that whisper to the angels, but someone must be treasuring a wonderful photograph.
In the last months of her life it was difficult for Sister to respond and to eat. Many took the effort to coax a weak smile and to have her drink some nourishment. It was decided that she would be placed for rehabilitation so that her muscles would remain functional. In the afternoon, the sisters who visited her at Carmel Richmond Nursing Home remarked about her alertness and the sister who gave her a rosary said she wound it around her hand with a smile. She nodded in the affirmative when asked if she wanted to meet Jesus. In the evening we received a call that she was taken to the hospital because of seizures. When the sisters arrived at the hospital the doctor was waiting for permission to stop all extraordinary means to revive her, saying she would never recover consciousness in any case. His beloved little sister had already slipped peacefully into the arms of Jesus.
May she rest in peace and pray for us.