Reflection by Dom Mark Ulogu


I lived with Fr. Tansi as a curate at Aguleri for a year 1949 – 1950. What impressed me most in my association with him was his charity, holiness, asceticism, and an ability to cope with difficult situations. His charity to me which started in St. Paul’s Seminary in 1932 continued to flow when I was his curate, especially with regard to the supply of my needs. He showed the same charity to others. He was the father of the poor, the sick and the needy. He paid the school fees of the indigent children. Of all his virtues, the ones that strongly marked him out as a man of God was his concern for others. At the outbreak of small-pox epidemic, for instance, his action was prompt. His alertness at attending sick calls and administering the sacraments is exemplary.

On confession days, he would hear the confession of the children immediately after school, and that to his own inconvenience. The children were thereby saved from the trouble of returning for confession at the scheduled time in the evening. The father on his part suffered. He had to sacrifice his customary regular one o’clock lunch just to please little children.

His diet was frugal. He saw to it that I ate well. For himself, anything could do. He loved poverty and simplicity. His soutane would be full of patches yet they would be clean and neat.

Everything about him was ordinary. Even his soap was the common one at the reach of every poor person. He retired to bed at 8 p.m. and rose at 3.00 a.m. After the morning and mental prayers, Mass and thanksgiving, he gave himself to the parochial duties of various kinds. These were interspersed with divine office, spiritual exercises, and meals. He was revered by the people. Here is the people’s comment on him: Father rules by his name. His name commanded respect and obedience. This is why his influence on the parish was so great. The Parish Priest of Dunukofia, Father Tansi’s former parish recalled that his parishioners spoke more of Fr. Tansi than of his successors. His ability to cope with difficult situations was great. On his arrival at Aguleri in 1949 to take over the parish rule, I explained to him the unhappy economic situation of the mission. His answer was, thank God we have a roof to live under. Within a year he left for the monastery, he cleared off the difficulties.

He attached much importance to the preparation for marriages. To this end, he established a Training Institute for girls who would become mothers. He had as well a Training home where grown up women were instructed for baptism and for marriage. He stressed the necessity of getting the future mothers of Christian families well in knowledge and practice of the Christian religion.

Two of us got the vocation to a life of seclusion in the monastery. He was to go before me in 1950, as both us should not abandon the parish. I followed latter in 1951.