Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi


Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, 1903-1964

Father Tansi was born in 1903 when Nigeria was still a British colony. Though his parents were non-Christian, they sent the boy to live with and be educated by a Christian uncle. He was baptized in 1912 and given the name Michael. After completing his studies, he taught at several Catholic schools in Nigeria and entered a seminary there. 

From the tropical rain forests of his native Nigeria, to his pilgrimage to Rome, to his final home at a monastery in England, Father Tansi shared the love of the Holy Spirit with everyone with whom he came in contact. 

For thirteen years he was a parish priest for several small villages, traveling widely on foot to minister to his parishioners. Many of the villages in which Father Tansi preached didn’t have churches. From the Temple of the Holy Spirit within himself, he taught the Word of God in small and large gatherings. He also labored alongside the villagers to build churches. Nearly everyone was impressed by his holiness, his humility, and his devotion to Christ. Many called him a “living Saint.” 

Father Tansi made his pilgrimage to the Holy See at Rome in 1950. Not long afterward, he became a Trappist monk at a monastery in England and took on the name Cyprian. He died there in 1964. During a visit to Nigeria in 1998, Pope John Paul II praised his work and beatified him, taking the first step toward Father Tansi’s canonization.

Discuss: Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi faced many hardships in order to bring the Good News to all people. Who do you know that has overcome great obstacles in order to help others and bring the Gospel to them?


Share the following facts with the young people.

  • Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, with more than 155 million people.
  • Nigeria is about 50 percent Muslim, 40 percent Christian, and the other 10 percent native religions.
  • Nigeria became independent from Great Britain in 1960.
  • Despite having rich oil deposits offshore, much of Nigeria is still poor, and it has been ruled by military dictators for most of its time since gaining independence.