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Monday, 17 August 2009

Blessed Cyprian Tansi Pilgrimage

Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboezunu in Nigeria. When he was baptised at the age of nine, he received the name Michael. He worked as a catechist and teacher before entering the seminary. He was ordained a priest of the Onitsha diocese in 1937 at the age of 34. While serving as a priest in the diocese, his ministry was marked by great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and by spending long hours in the confessional. He also baptised the future Cardinal Arinze and inspired him to respond to a priestly vocation.

In 1950, Fr Tansi came to England to join the Cistericians of Strict Observance (Trappists) at Mount St Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire. He remained there until his death in 1964. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd March 1998, in Nigeria.

In the year of his beatification, the first pilgrimage to honour him took place at the Abbey. Since then it has been held annually in Grace Dieu Manor; but this year the pilgrimage returns to the Abbey on Sat 29 August, beginning with Mass at 11am. This is very much the initiative of Abbot Joseph Delargy. The community would like to create a permanent outdoor pilgrimage site and to promote the cause for Blessed Cyprian to be canonised.

Blessed Cyprian Tansi is not just a saint for Nigerians - important though he undoubtedly is for Catholics in that country. He is also a role model for priests in following both an active and a contemplative life. He also speaks to all Christians:
If you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God.
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