Beatification is a practise of the Catholic Church, the Pope declares a deceased person as holy and righteous.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the first west African Priest to be beatified, Rev. Fr. Iwene Tansi.
Rev. Fr. Iwene Tansi was born in Nigeria, Africa, in 1903. His parents were not Christians, but they sent Iwene to a school run by Catholic missionaries. There he learned about Jesus and made the decision to become a follower of Christ. He received the name Michael when he was baptized.
Teachers were needed for the Catholic schools founded by the missionaries, so Michael decided to become a teacher. He earned his teaching certificate when he was only 16. He taught for several years and even became a headmaster, or principal. Michael’s work was satisfying, but he wanted to do more to help others to find Christ.
Michael entered St. Paul’s Seminary at Igbarium in 1925. After ordination in 1937, he served as a parish priest in several villages. It was important for him to know all his parishioners, so he traveled on foot or on his bicycle to minister to the poor, the lonely, and the sick. He had a special interest in preparing young women for marriage. With the help of local nuns, the women were taught about Christian marriage and how to care for the children they would have.
Michael longed for the chance to spend more time in quiet prayer. His bishop gave him permission to join an order of Trappist monks in England. In the monastery, Michael took the name “Father Cyprian.” He hoped that one day he would be able to open a Trappist monastery in Nigeria.
After many prayerful years in the monastery, Father Cyprian died in 1964. His body was returned to his homeland for burial in 1986.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998, at Oba, Nigeria, becoming the first West African to be beatified.
There is a statue of Father Tansi outside Most Holy Trinity Basilica in Onitsha. In 2010, Michael Cyprian Iwene Tansi was named a patron of Nigerian priests. Archbishop Valerian Okeke compared Father Tansi to St John Mary Vianney as a model of sanctity.
Fr. Iwene Tansi Quotations
- Count no one saved, until he is found in heaven” (Onye afuro na enuigwe, si aguyi na)
- Do not be imitating the whites in everything, strive hard to gain the Kingdom of God. The whites are already in heaven in this world, but you are suffering every want. Are you going to suffer also in the next world: Life on earth could be compared to the journey of a young student who received a slip for a registered parcel, and he had to go to Lagos to claim this parcel. On the way he passed through many beautiful towns, towns with very attractive things in the shops. He started going from one shop to another, stretching his hands to the beautiful things he saw. He stopped so often in these big towns that he almost forgot what he was travelling for. It was after a long time that he ultimately reached Lagos, and when he went to claim the parcel he was told that the parcel had lain in the post for so long without him arriving to claim it that they had finally decided to send it back to the sender.
- God will give you double for what you give Him
- If you want to eat vultures, you may as well eat seven of them, so that when people call you “vulture eater” you really deserve the name. If you want to become a Catholic, live as a faithful Catholic, so that when people see you, they know that you are a Catholic. If you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God
- Whether you like it or not, saving your soul is your own business. If you are weak and fall by the wayside, we shall push you aside and tread on you as we march forward to meet God
Institutions Named After Fr. Iwene Tansi
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary,Onitsha Anambra State Nigeria (Provincial Seminary)
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Secondary School,Aguleri
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish,Umudioka
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish Awada- Onitsha
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish Mba Farm, Onitsha
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish Ugwu Orji Owerri Imo State
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish, Transekulu, Enugu State
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Chaplaincy, Nike Grammar School, Enugu State
- Blessed Iwene Tansi Chaplaincy, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (Igbariam Campus)
- Tansi International College Awka
- Tansian University, umunya
12 Blessed Michael Tansi Catholic Church Aba
13. Blessed Tansi Catholic Church pipeline new-rumuokwurusi Port-Harcourt Rivers state