Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
Born: September 1903
Died: January 20, 1964
Feast day: January 20
Patron saint of: Nigerian priests
At a time when many of the Catholic clergy ministering on the continent of Africa were European missionaries, native Nigerian Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi felt a call to the priesthood. His entering seminary in Nigeria was a traumatic experience for his family, who were not Catholic and expected that he would study subjects that could help better their economic situation. Still, Bl. Cyprian persevered and served as a parish priest after his ordination, and eventually became a Trappist monk. Father Cyprian’s intensity was famous—he lived in a house that he built himself, ate very little food each day, and fervently pushed back against the pagan aspects of Igbo/Nigerian society. That intense drive for holiness above all else is what drove Fr. Cyprian until the day he died, and it can serve as an example for us today as we navigate an increasingly complicated world.
Image: Jennifer Udoka Igboanugo, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons