About Our Patron Saint

About Blessed Iwene Tansi

Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Aguleri in Anambra State of Nigeria, within the Archdiocese of Onitsha. He was baptized on 7th July 1913. His early attraction to the service of God as an altar boy and boy-catechist led to his entry into the Seminary at Igbariam in 1925. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Onitsha on 19th December 1937.

Already as a seminarian his zeal for souls became noted as he worked hard to promote the spiritual life of the faithful, especially by instilling in many devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As a parish priest he worked tirelessly, converting many to Christ, promoting vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, keeping prayerful watch over his flock and giving special pastoral attention to family life and to preparing girls for Christian marriage.

Early in July 1950 he entered the Monastery of Mount St. Bernard Abbey, Leicester, England, in order to continue there “a life given entirely to God”. As an enclosed contemplative monk, his apostolate expanded to embrace the whole world. His heightened life of prayer and self-denial in the Cistercian monastery was a source of strength and victory in the face of his struggle to reflect the light of Christ in the world, which the Christian life involves.

(The life of Blessed Iwene Tansi read at the scene of his beatification in 1998)

Tansi died on 20th January 1964. But the sanctity of his life as priest and monk has continued to attract and animate the faith of generations in Nigeria and beyond.

The heroic sanctity of Venerable Tansi has attracted the public acclamation of the Church. On Sunday, March 22, 1998, the Holy Father, John Paull II beatified Fr. Tansi before a crowd of over three million people at the Oba International Airport site, Nigeria.

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