Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B.
“Ever since I was a kid, I devoured books on history,” says historian Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. of his journey to the Catholic Church. “I would never describe my odyssey as being an intellectual journey,” he said. “It was more or less a falling in love with history. It made me fall in love with one of the things history talks about and that would be the Catholic Church.”
Davis received the University of Dayton’s Marianist Award in recognition of his contributions to intellectual life, including his groundbreaking book, The History of Black Catholics in the United States. A Benedictine monk for more than 50 years, Davis is professor of church history at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and also the archivist for the Benedictine abbey there and other organizations.
In addition he has advised the U.S. Catholic bishops on the pastoral letters having to do with the African American Catholic experience, Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) and What We Have Seen and Heard (1984). Davis himself, said Father Paul Marshall, S.M., rector of the University of Dayton, has a “presence. He carries the sacred with him. You can see God within him.”