A Woman who responded to the words:
“Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening”
Sr Ibolya Glancz 1918 – 2013
Died 5th December 2013
Ibolya was born into an observant Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. She was the middle child having three older and three younger siblings - -four girls and three boys. She said they observed the Jewish feasts with joy. On feast days the courses of meals were interspersed with singing psalms. She did not experience any anti-semitism until one of her brothers was denied a place in university on the grounds of his being Jewish.
Talking to a Good Shepherd sister whom she happened to meet, she was surprised that the sister seemed so happy, but the sister said “If you knew Jesus you too would be happy” She lent Ibolya a New Testament which she took home to read even though she knew that for her it was forbidden. Having done so, she understood that Jesus was the Messiah and secretly became a Christian. At the age of sixteen Ibolya went to Germany to learn German and was there to experience the infamous Kristallnacht. She returned to Hungary about 1938 and had the opportunity to come to London to learn English. In 1939 the war broke out and she was unable to return home as the Balkans were overrun by the Nazis. The head of the firm for which she worked took her to Findon to look after his mother. She went to the local convent, hoping to go to Mass but found it was Anglican. However, the prioress directed her to Our Lady of Sion in Worthing. She stayed with the sisters while she studied English and in due course decided to become a Sister of Sion. She was in the novitiate in Acton Burnell for an unprecedented time as it was difficult to get her papers from Hungary during the war, but she made profession in June 1945. She remained in that community until 1961 when she moved to our Highbury community until 1966, and then went to Rome. There she was able to meet up with her mother who had survived the war with her husband because they were hidden from the Nazis in a disused factory by a Hungarian policeman.
She served in Sion in Trieste, returned to England the following year to Acton Burnell, then Tunis and Spain and back to Rome. Then, to her supreme joy, she went to Israel, where she served in both Jerusalem and Ein Karem for seventeen years. She then returned to the UK to be part of the newly formed Birmingham community and transferred to Bayswater in 1992. She loved gardening and caring for plants and Creation. She went to every lecture or talk available on Scripture and the Jewish Christian Dialogue. Ibolya was a gifted linguist, speaking Hungarian, German, English, French, Italian and Hebrew. Wherever she was, she was at the service of others; always kind, considerate, welcoming and charming but never slow to speak her mind when she thought things were not as they should be. She lost family in the Holocaust and did not know where some of her relations went.
She knew that one of her sisters was taken from the streets of Paris by the Gestapo to Auschwitz, and one of her brothers died there too. But she made contact with other relations in Jerusalem, the UK, USA and Europe. Her heart was in Israel and it was her wish to be cremated and for her ashes to be buried in our cemetery in Ein Karem, just outside Jerusalem.