Despite his handicap he rose quickly through his grades and graduated in 1919 at the age of 16. He began teaching at the same school and at the age of 21, two years after his mother was poisoned, he became headmaster at St. Joseph's. Two years later Nigeria's Bishop Shanahan opened a seminary in Igbariam on the banks of the Niger River. Michael asked his pastor if he could enroll in the seminary but because of his position as headmaster, had to wait until 1925 before he could be replaced. Though the curriculum was tough, Michael persevered and on December 19, 1937 he was ordained. His first assignment was in the Onitsha Diocese for the next thirteen years. He threw himself totally into his life as a priest, taking special time for hearing confessions and spending longer than usual to say Holy Mass because of his awe of the Blessed Sacrament. One of the young men he nurtured was Cardinal Arinze who Fr. Tansi baptized and bestowed his First Holy Communion. Fr. Tansi was so devoted to the Blessed Sacrament that he promoted Forty Hours Devotion as often as he could, spending many of those forty hours there himself, assuring that factions adverse to Catholicism would not enter the church and desecrate the Holy Eucharist. The more he spent before Our Lord in the tabernacle or the Monstrance, the more he contemplated contemplative life.
In 1944 he approaced his bishop, Bishop Heerey at the time, and asked if he could consider allowing him to pursue a contemplative order. Like the predicament at his school when he was a headmaster, the Bishop declined his request because he was needed in pastoral work. But three years later the Bishop changed his mind and allowed Fr. Tansi to look into orders which provided a contemplative, prayerful lifestyle. In fact, the Bishop even researched for him but asked Fr. Tansi to continue his pastoral work for the time being, assigning him as a curate at his home parish in Aguleri. In 1950 he was finally able to follow his heart and enter the Abbey at Mount Saint Bernard in Leicestershire, England as a novice. He took the name Cyprian. At first it was strange and he felt lost, especially after his own bishop visited him at the Cistercian Abbey and then left. When he left, Fr. Tansi felt the last vestige of his homeland had been broken and he felt great sadness. But it was replaced by the presence of Christ both in the Blessed Sacrament and in his heart. The monks worked hard at the abbey, and Fr. Cyprian was no stranger to hard labor from his training in Africa. Because of language and red-tape by which his own bishop had to fully release him from any obligations of returning to Africa, Fr. Cyprian was not accepted into the Cistercian Order until December 8th, 1953 when he made his simple profession of faith.
He realize that with this vow, he had forever cut his ties with his African homeland and true to his promise to God, he would not return to Africa until after his death when his body was brought back from England and reinterred in Nigeria. His life in England was a monumental adjustment for this young Ibo from Western Nigeria who had grown up in the heat and sunshine of the Equator region of his homeland. England was cold and cloudy and the weather greatly affected his physical constitution, but he suffered in silence. He was known by his fellow Trappist monks as the "Good Shepherd," always ready to assist others. Though he could speak little as a Trappist, he wrote voraciously when he could and whatever he wrote was well-thought out. Also, though he knew he would never again see his homeland, he never forgot his people, praying constantly for them in his life as a contemplative. As his holiness gained a reputation among his fellow monks and superiors, word got out and many bishops from all over made pilgrimages to the Abbey to see Fr. Cyprian Tansi in search of his secret. It was simple: a life of intercessory prayer for the entire world and total abdication of his own will, submitting totally to the Will of God.
It was in 1962 that a representative of the Cistercians traveled to Africa looking for locations to construct abbeys and formation foundations in Africa. No doubt the reasoning was that there might very well be more Fr. Cyprian Tansis who could be groomed for the contemplative life and, quite possibly, Fr. Tansi could return to his homeland as the Abbot of a new monastery in Nigeria. In 1963 the Abbot at Mount St. Bernard announced that Fr. Tansi would be the new Novice Master of a Cistercian novitiate opening in Cameroon bordering Nigeria to the east. But Fr. Tansi would not live to see it.
On December 19, 1963 he celebrated his silver jubilee as a priest and on the Feast of Epiphany, a month later in 1964 his fellow monks helped plan a Nigerian Mass with Fr. Tansi celebrating a solemn pan-African High Mass with his deacon being fellow countryman Father Mark Ulogu and an Ethiopian subdeacon Abba Samuel serving as subdeacon. The acolytes were two more Nigerians and the altar boy in charge of the thurifer (incense) was an Ibo citizen from Fr. Tansi's region. It was shortly after that when Fr. Cyprian came dow with an illness doctors first though was lumbago and he was sent to bed to rest. The monks and Abbot wanted to move him to more comfortable quarters but Fr. Tansi would not be accommodated in such luxury or attention. He declined and asked only for a light in his dormitory cubicle so he could read and write his thoughts as he prayed. The problem was his illness was not getting better and doctors were alarmed when his swollen legs indicated a deep vein thrombosis. Upon further examination they found a lump in his stomach. Because of his immobility and the hardship on others because of his being sequestered in the dorm, he agreed to be transferred to the Abbey's infirmary. His pain was severe but he endeavored to the end to hide it from all. The Abbot arranged for him to have the last rites and be brought Holy Communion. Soon the pain got so bad that they called for an ambulance to take him to the Leicester Royal Infirmary. As he awaited, he prayed aloud, "My God, my God. Thy will be done. Into Thy hands, O my God." When he reached the English hospital, a nurse was waiting for him and prepping him for operation on his stomach when suddenly he had a massive aneurism with the aorta bursting and he died suddenly at two in the afternoon on January 24, 1964. They held his funeral the next day at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey where there was standing room only as mourners came from all over, including Cardinal Arinze who played an important role in helping promote his candidacy for sainthood.
On July 1976 the Abbey of Our Lady of Mbengwi in Bamenda, Nigeria was elevated to the rank of a Cistercian Abbey twelve and a half years after Blessed Tansi's death. The response was so great, that Archbishop Arinze sought another house in Nigeria for the Cistercians. At the same time old parishioners of Fr. Tansi's parish began lobbying for his beatification because of his heroic life of service to God and his fellow men. On May 25, 1985 Cardinal Arinze was elevated to the cardinalate and he intensified the efforts for Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi's cause. On March 22nd, during the Holy Father's first visit to Nigeria at Cardinal Arinze's invitation, John Paul II officially beatified Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, O.C.S.O. in a lavish ceremony in the Cathedral in Onitsha, with many of those whose vocation they can attribute to Blessed Tansi, in attendance. The tremendous influx of vocations in Nigeria can be related to the fruits of Blessed Cyprian's prayers and fiat. Today, despite decades of turmoil with governments and rebels, the seminaries in Nigeria and surrounding countries are brimming with young men studying for the priesthood and they await the day anxiously when one of their own will be proclaimed the first Nigerian Saint.
In 1989 the Holy Father made him Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica and on January 14, 1991 the Vicar General of Vatican City State as well as the President of the Fabric of St. Peter, as the Archpriest of the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica with the responsibility of the administration, care and preservation of St. Peter's. He was elevated to the cardinalate that same year in the Consistory of June 28, 1991 in which he received the titular church of St. John Bosco in Via Tuscolana as a cardinal-deacon. In addition to his duties as Vicar General and Archpriest, he serves curial membership in the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in addition to his active input in the Committee for the Grand Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000. This latter committee is of utmost importance to Cardinal Noe for he is overseeing all the renovations and complete face-lift of the exterior of St. Peter's which should be completed within a few months.
I wish to say to all of my children: Do not forget all that my Divine Son did and taught. Live the Gospel message. Be consecrated to my Divine Son's Sacred Heart and my Immaculate Heart.
I wish for all of my children to remember the fullness of my words given to generations from LaSalette to the present. These words spoken by your Heavenly Mother, come from and by God's Authority. Learn well from these words, by which your faith shall be increased in these dangerous times. Pray much, my children, and pray often the Holy Rosary.
Little children, I, your Mother, weep for every nation on earth because I see the intense suffering of my children. O! If you would only surrender your will to God; surrender your heart and receive His Heart, you would avoid all evil, and live in mercy and holiness. Then my Immaculate Heart would triumph and the Reign of my Divine Son's Sacred Heart would embrace the earth.
If you do not become humble, contrite children I solemnly tell you sorrow shall envelop your world so fully, that it shall be said that never was such sorrow upon mankind from the beginning of time - fire, flood, famine, pestilence, and innumerable wars and the reign of the antichrist.
I tell you these things as you make reparation to my Immaculate Heart that you might be prepared and, thereby, persevere until the end.
My words to you shall soon be over and you must be strong.
Therefore, I urge you. Be humble, contrite children of God, and put on the armor of Truth. Walk in the Way of the Cross, and do so in love for Perfect Love. Let the Institute of Divine Mercy, blessed from on High, receive the prayers and support of all the world, for from and through this Institute My Divine Son chooses to bring torrents of Mercy to all the world.
Pray, and be filled with the Holy Spirit, for the time of preparation and commitment are at hand and shall pass away.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
On this great, joyous and solemn Feast, I say to all the world: Behold, O My people. As it was at the First Pentecost, so it is now that the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who is the Perfect Love of the Father and Son, is poured out in a most astonishing manner upon My Church and upon all mankind.
Now your hearts must be enflamed with ardent love of Me and for Me. Through the Holy Spirit you must become as little children who trust Me and obey Me, and thus love Me. Now must all pride, ego and self-seeking be taken from you, that stripped of these weights, you may truly lift up your hearts into the resplendent Light of Truth.
I say this for you must know that unless, through an open and contrite heart, your heart is lifted up into the One True Light, you shall perish in the darkness of these end times.
Behold, I desire for all of My children to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit to be of one mind and one heart through the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Unless you are of total detachment and abandonment, you shall not receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and you will remain vulnerable to the wiles of satan.
Yet I solemnly tell you that on this day, and at every moment of life, the Holy Spirit seeks to possess your soul that you may attain to holiness and sanctity, and thus have Eternal Life. Therefore, call out in full faith, in the fullness of hope and trust, and let your cry be carried to Heaven on the wings of pure love, crying, "Come, Holy Spirit. Renew the face of the earth." And thus shall you see the power of God at work.
But if you do not do as I tell you, then you shall see the ravages of all sin and evil upon mankind. I solemnly tell you that more plagues will come. More disasters from nature and from the evil in men's hearts shall be loosed upon the earth.
Terror shall grip every nation. Sorrow and tears shall mingle with the blood of many victims, and no where on earth shall be found peace.
Yet I do not abandon you, for I am with you always. Behold, in these times of deep sorrow and spiritual darkness, I give unto you My Institute of Divine Mercy, through which I choose and desire to make manifest My Infinite Mercy and to pour out My Divine Mercy upon all men.
Therefore, as Pentecost celebrates the birthday of My One True Church, I proclaim to you that this must be for all the birthday, as your human intellect comprehends these words, of this Institute of which I spoke to My servant and saint Faustina many years ago.
The time of fulfillment is now. Heed My call to Mercy. Let no heart be proud and filled with rejection. Pray and support with all charity this new Institute, for I solemnly tell you that to all who assist this Institute shall be granted unfathomable Mercy and at the hour of death I shall clothe My servants in the garments of Mercy as they come to Me in Paradise.
O! I Am Mercy and I seek to pour out My Divine Mercy as an unquenchable torrent of spiritual gifts and graces. O children of My Sacred Heart, behold the outpouring this day of the Holy Spirit, and the transformation of My Apostles and disciples into true shepherds and soldiers of My Most Holy Name.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit, My little ones, and you shall know the truth of these words as I give them to My hidden one. Then cast aside all fear and rejoice, for the time of visitation has come, and your heart shall leap for joy, for I Come!
Heed well My words and do not tarry in your response. Soon I shall no longer speak to you in messages given to My hidden flower. Then you must be strong, joined to My Passion and fed by Me in My Sacrament of Love, and strengthened by daily Mass and weekly Confession.
I say again: Prepare well and rejoice, for I, your Savior and Redeemer, come to establish the Reign of My Sacred Heart!