Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Cyprian Michael Tansi Local BBC Leicester
Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:07 UK
Blessed Cyprian may be new saint
Blessed Cyprian Tansi
Blessed Cyprian is one step away from sainthood
A Nigerian monk who spent the last 14 years of his life at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey is one step away from sainthood.
Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was beautified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998.
For the last 11 years hundreds of Catholics have gathered in Leicestershire in pilgrimage to Blessed Cyprian.
To be elevated to the state of saint, a second miracle must be proved.
In the beginning
Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboazunu in Nigeria, later receiving the name of Michael at his baptism.
As a young man he worked as a teacher, before beginning the journey towards becoming a priest.
Tansi was ordained for the Onitsha diocese at the age of 34, and became a man of great prayer and personal sacrifice.
 As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication 
Father Anselm Stark
He arrived at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey near Coalville in 1950 ready to start follow a monastic life, joining a community of 71 people.
As Father Cyprian his daily life would have very similar to that which the monks follow today.
They monks wake early to attend the first church service of that day at 03:30, with seven following church visits before bed.
Manual labour would features heavily in their day. Fr Cyprian worked in the vegetable gardens and orchard which in his day stood on the site of the 2009 pilgrimage.
Father Anselm Stark has been at the monastery for 55 years, and knew Fr Cyprian personally.
"As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication.
"We didn't realise towards the end how sick he was, he never complained about anything. Of course when we got him into hospital it was too late."
Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on 20 January 1964, at the age of 61.
At first he was buried in the monastery grounds, but in 1986 his remains were exhumed and returned to Nigeria.
A miracle
When Cyprian's remains were taken back to Nigeria there was a big ceremony to welcome them back - lots of people wanted to go to Onitsha Cathedral - she insisted must go
In order for Blessed Cyprian to become a saint someone must have their prayers to him answered in a miraculous way that can be proved, such as a healing.
Mount Saint Bernard Abbey (Photo: Paul Burnell)
Blessed Cyprian lived at Mount Saint Bernard for 14 years
Fr Anselm says that it was at the welcoming ceremony at Onitsha Cathedral that Cyprian's miracle occurred.
A dying woman had begged her carers to allow her to attend the ceremony, despite their concerns for her health.
"When the coffin was brought up the aisle of the cathedral she put out her hand and touched it, and was instantly cured of her stomach cancer," says Fr Anselm.
In 1998 Cyprian was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Since then pilgrims have collected each year in Leicestershire to celebrate his life and pray for another miracle which could see Blessed Cyprian be raised to the state of a saint.
After a 10 year break, the 2009 event, including a mass and procession, returned to Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.
Hundreds of people from across the United Kingdom, many with Nigerian roots, took part.
Sister Bernadette said there was much to understand from Blessed Cyprian's work, "humility, patience, endurance, divine providence - the will of God".
"It means a lot to me, it is a day of prayer, a day of reflection, a day to look at Tansi's life and realise how we can emulate him as a fellow Nigerian." 

Blessed Cyprian Tansi was a monk of our community for 14 years, from 1950, until his death, in 1964. Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboezunu in Nigeria. At the age of nine he was baptised, receiving the name Michael. As a young man, he worked as a catechist and school teacher before entering a seminary at the age of 22. He was ordained a priest for the Onitsha diocese in 1937 at the age of 34. From the moment of his ordination, Michael Tansi joined an energetic apostolic zeal to a life of profound prayer and demanding personal asceticism.

His care for the people committed to him in the diocese of Onitsha made him ardent in propagating devotion to the Sacred Heart, to Our Lady, and the Rosary. His belief in the value for the whole Church of the hidden life of prayer in a contemplative Order, led Fr Tansi to join Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in 1950.

On becoming a Cistercian monk, he took the name Cyprian. Fr Cyprian worked in the refectory and bookbindery.The transition to Mount Saint Bernard and the Cistercian life must have been difficult for him, but what always made him remarkable was the iron strength and tenacity of his will which was, from boyhood, directed entirely towards God. No tragedy or trial could weaken his complete trust in God's providence. He used to say, "if you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God". Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on the 20th January 1964, aged 61.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd March 1998, in Nigeria.

Blessed Cyprian,
during your life on earth
you showed your great faith and love
in giving yourself to your people
and by the hidden life
of prayer and contemplation.
Look upon us now in our needs,
and intercede for us with the Lord.
May he grant us the favour we ask
through our prayers. Amen.

Blessed Cyprian's Feast Day is on 20th January.

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