A week after Saint Meinrad Archabbey lost Fr. Aelred Cody, O.S.B. (see previous post), Fr. Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., also passed on to his eternal reward. The death of Fr. Cyprian, 84, early Monday was a bit more of a surprise, though his health had been in steady decline in the last year or two. In the last couple of weeks, it had become increasingly more difficult for Fr. Cyprian to get around and to keep up with everything going on around him. However, he was determined to keep going to church and to other community functions right to the end. His will, I think, simply outlasted his body.
He fought the good fight. He finished the race. He kept the faith (cf. 2Timothy 4:7).
I think it is safe to say that Fr. Cyprian was one of the more beloved and respected members of the monastery--not only at Saint Meinrad, but across the country. His passion was history--both church and monastic. He was a professor in our school, and also served as Saint Meinrad Archabbey's archivist. For many years, he taught monastic history to novices in the monastery (including yours truly, back in 2007). So, many young seminarians and monks benefited from his wisdom. (You can read his obituary here.)
Fr. Cyprian was also well-known for his research and writing on the topic of African-American Catholics, especially his 1990 book The History of Black Catholics in the United States.
More than anything, however, Fr. Cyprian was a faithful monk--a quiet, prayerful, thoughtful, and humble man if I ever saw one. He was so well-respected around here that many monks (including yours truly) liked to tease him mercilessly about things like his teaching approach (footnotes!), politics, biases (Cluny, with no love lost for St. Bernard), and numerous awards. Actually, I think he enjoyed the attention. We will miss him.
A few years ago, while working at Abbey Press Publications, I helped put together the book Thirsting for God, a compilation of prayers, poems, and hymns written by monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey (also available as an audio book, and as an e-book). Fr. Cyprian submitted a couple items. Here is one of them:
Take what is broken, Lord,
And make us mended;
Take what is tired,
And make us renewed;
Take what is scattered,
And make us whole.
And that which is lost,
Make us truly found.