Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi 'was a small frail man with a blind eye. . . What made him remarkable was the iron strength and tenacity of his will, which was, from his boyhood, directed entirely towards God.'
He spent thirteen years in parish ministry in Nigeria before becoming a Trappist monk in England. His special gift for drawing young men to the priesthood is reflected in the number of priests and bishops - even a cardinal - who have come from the parishes in which he worked. During his fourteen years in the monastery he showed himself humble and prayerful, always cheerful, 'ready to do whatever was asked of him.' Chosen to return to Africa to help introduce the contemplative life, he died before the new community was founded. On 22 March 1998, Blessed Cyprian Tansi was beatified by Pope John Paul II, who said in his homily:
'Father Tansi knew that there is something of the Prodigal Son in every human being . . . He encouraged people to confess their sins and receive God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He implored them to forgive one another as God forgives us, and to hand on the gift of reconciliation, making it a reality at every level of Nigerian life. Father Tansi tried to imitate the father in the parable: he was always available for those searching for reconciliation. He spread the joy of restored communion with God.'
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