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Happy Blessed Cyprian feast day!
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Today (20 January) is the feast day of Blessed Cyprian Tansi. Many thanks to Fr Donald from Nunraw Abbey for sending us this piece by Fr Laurence Walsh ocso

Cyprian Tansihad three names. Iwene was the name given by his father at his birth in 1903, Michael was his baptismal name, and Cyprian his monastic name. Born into a pagan family, he was sent to a Catholic school where at the age of eight he was baptised.

On  completing his education he became a teacher, and in 1925 entered the seminary. As a catechist, Michael saw to it that no child died without  Baptism when he was there. Pagan and Christian alike came to him to settle  their disputes. In 1937 he was ordained priest. He was an admirable pastor.   There were no bounds to his zeal, his self-giving, his generosity and his good  humour.

Sister  Magdalen, an Irish Holy Rosary Sister, gave him a copy of Dom Marmion's Christ the Ideal of the Monk. This   book sowed the seeds of a monastic vocation, which lead him to join Mount   Saint Bernard Abbey in England, where he was known as Fr Cyprian.   The remaining thirteen years of his life were passed unnoticed by those who knew him only as a monk. It was said of him that he was "almost overpoweringly humble," and yet was habitually   cheerful with an impish sense of humour. One of his brethren described him as "just an ordinary monk, monking  about." Yet Cyprian had   total faith in the value of the contemplative life, believing that in his monastery he was able to contribute even more to the mission in his beloved  Iboland and to the world at large.

He died unexpectedly 20 January 1964 aged 60, and was buried at Mount Saint Bernard. However, his old parishioners in his native Iboland pressed his cause. In September 1986 his remains were exhumed and brought back to Nigeria to be  re-interred at Onitsha Cathedral, there to become a centre of devotion for the local people.
Pope John Paul II travelled to Oba, Nigeria, where on 22 March 1988 he beatified Blessed Cyprian Tansi in the presence of two million people.

Cyprian was a man of   tiny stature and so he appears in this Window, with his impish smile, dressed in his Cistercian cowl, with his beloved Iboland huts and hills in the   background. A companion said of him that as a young teacher "he would talk with Our Lady as a child talks to his mother". As pastor he was deeply committed to promoting the Legion of Mary and the Children of Mary, and strongly recommended the Rosary at Mount Saint Bernard it was noted that: "his love of the Lady Chapel speaks   for itself."

In the bottom panel there are symbols of the three basic elements of monastic  life: Opus Dei (liturgical life), Opus Manuum (manual labour), and Lectio Divina (God-centred reading).   The African drum and vessels symbolise the Liturgy; for work, Cyprian at the book-sewing press; and   for Lectio, the book, Christ the Ideal  of the Monk.

Fr Laurence Walsh ocso
Lumen Christi
The Stained Glass Windows
Mount Saint Joseph Abbey
Roscrea 2009 

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Posted By  Fr Donald  to Dom Donald's Blog on  1/19/2010 09:35:00 PM


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