Fr Cyprian Smith, monk

Fr Cyprian Smith
Fr Cyprian Smith
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Fr Cyprian Smith, who has died at 81, was a Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire.

Born in Barrow in Furness in 1937, he studied French literature and music at Manchester University and worked as an assistant lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, and then Hull University.

For four years from 1968, he lived in Brazil, where lectured in music at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica, and taught Latin and Music at the British School in Rio de Janeiro.

A growing taste for prayer and reading, and retreats at Sao Bento Benedictine monastery in Rio led him to a sense of monastic vocation, and on his return to England in 1973 he joined the Benedictine Community at Ampleforth. He was ordained priest in 1979.

In 1987, his book, The Way of Paradox – Spiritual Life as taught by Meister Eckhart, was published, and became a popular spiritual text.

For a decade from 1989, Fr Cyprian was Novice Master at Ampleforth, and many of his talks to the novices were adapted for lay people and published in 1995 as The Path of Life.

He was born with cerebral palsy and in later years his mobility was restricted and his overall health declined. He was admitted to York Hospital at the beginning of April.