Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians

The Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians originated from the “Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement” which began in 1984 at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish, Onitsha, Nigeria, with spiritual attachment to Our Lady of Angels Cistercian Monastery, Nsugbe, Nigeria. The group prays for the canonization of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi O.C.S.O., a pioneer of the Cistercian Order in Nigeria and strives to follow his footsteps.

On 30th March, 1995, as God would have it, the coordinator of Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement in company of two members met the Abbot General, Dom Bernardo Olivera, O.C.S.O. at Our Lady of Angels Monastery, Nsugbe and made a passionate appeal to him to accept the Fr., Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement members as Lay Cistercians. He replied that the Holy Spirit will direct through the intercession of Fr. Cyprian Tansi (now Blessed). In July of the same year, he generously directed the Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement to go, for formation, at Our Lady of Mount Calvary Monastery Awhum. On the feast of our founding fathers, SS. Robert, Alberic, and Stephen, 26th January 1997, out of this Fr. Tansi Solidarity Prayer Movement, came the first group of eleven lay people (five women and six men) who made vows as “Fr. Tansi Lay Contemplatives.” at Our Lady of Mount Calvary Monastery, Awhum. To God be the glory. He answered our prayer through the intercession of Blessed Cyprian Tansi, O.C.S.O.

In 1999, the coordinator spoke to the Cistercian General Chapter at Lourdes, about the great vitality of this Cistercian group. Presently, the Fr. Tansi Lay Cistercians are 29 in number. Thanks to our Father Abbot general Dom Bernardo Olivera, and the prior and the monks of Awhum Monastery for their support and formation programme for the group.

There are four categories of membership beginning from Postulant, Novice, First Professed and final Professed members. An intending member is known as aspirant. After admission, the person becomes a member as a Postulant which lasts for one year. Then the person becomes a Novice which last for two years within which the person is given formation lectures/training as a Lay Cistercian. At the end of this Novitiate, the person makes his/her first Profession of private vows for one year which are renewed every year for six years. After six years, he/she then makes the Final Profession.

As a Novice, the member is bound to say the three major Divine offices of Lauds, Vespers and Compline everyday.

There is a three-day retreat at our monastery every four months. We call it Triduum. It is compulsory for every member to attend. Currently, we have fifteen final professed members, ten simple/first professed members, two Novices, two postulants and the rest are Aspirants. We are really very serious and considers it as God’s call to be a Lay Cistercian.

We have embarked on a Retreat house project that shall accommodate about 42 guests. Currently it remains furnishing of the rooms. The Monastry spent millions of naira while helping us to get to this level. We need financial assistance of fellow Lay Cistercians both individualy or collectively. Our estimate is $45,000.00. To help us kindly reach our Monastic Advisor, the Prior of our Monasterly Very Rev. Fr. Bertrand M.C. Okoh at


Our Lady of Mount Calvary Monastery (OCSO-Monks)
Awhum P.O. Box 698
Enugu, Enugu State
Fr. Bertrand M C. Okoh

Lay Leader
Mary Virginia Ikegwuonu
P.O.BOX 698
P.O.Box 9820 GPO
Marina Lagos