Brother Cyprian Zorskis, O.S.F.

Brother Cyprian, nee Alphonsus V. Zorskis, was born in Manhattan Jan. 25, 1922 to loving, devout parents who had come to this country from their native Lithuania. The family subsequently moved to Huntington Station, L.I. where the future Brother Cyprian attended and graduated from the parish school, St. Hugh of Lincoln. He then entered St. Anthony's Juniorate, Smithtown and following his graduation in June 1941 moved across the field to St. Francis Novitiate. He received the Habit September 5, 1941 and pronounced temporary vows September 28, 1944. Final profession was three years later. Brother Cyprian earned B.S. and M.S. Degrees from Fordham University and later an M.A. from St. John's University. He also held a diploma from the Brooklyn Diocesan Normal School and permanent New York State certificates as teacher and elementary school principal. Brother Cyprian taught at a number of parish schools staffed by the Brothers, including St. Anthony's in Greenpoint, St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Brigid's and in later years, Notre Dame, New Hyde Park. He also taught at St. Francis Prep North 6th Street and served as Director of Athletics from 1953 to 1958. During the following six years Brother was principal of St. Francis Xavier School and Superior of the friary there. Then followed three years at Our Lady of Lourdes where he filled the same positions. He then returned to St. Francis Prep as teacher 1968-74. In 1974 he was assigned to St. Anthony's H.S. where he taught until his "retirement" in 1987. Cyprian also served as director at Camp Alvernia during 1959-1961. Restless in retirement and despite a serious heart condition, he accepted the position of Assistant to the Dean at Xavier H.S. in Manhattan and commuted via bus and subway from Bishop Ford Friary, Park Slope, Brooklyn from September 1987 until his death on January 8, 1994. Brother Cyprian will be long remembered and revered for his total commitment as a Franciscan Brother and for the love and energy he expended for his students. A taskmaster in the classroom, he gave unstintingly of himself and prodded his students develop their own talents to the fullest. Cyprian had a special place in his heart for the athletes and seemed to live vicariously their exploits on the playing field, especially the gridiron. In imitation of our founder St. Francis, he had a love for beauties of nature. Wherever he was stationed he found a spot to cultivate flowers which later adorned the chapel. The songs of his canaries were a constant at the Bishop Ford Friary as were the cacophonies of his pet cockatoo. Tireless to the end, Brother Cyprian had just completed taking down the Christmas decorations at the Friary and had sat down to rest when he was suddenly and unexpectedly called to his eternal reward. Family, friends and dozens of present and former students appeared to pay their last farewell at the wake. There was standing room only at the funeral Mass in the chapel at Bishop Ford and burial Holy Cross Cemetery on a stormy winter day. Particularly edifying was the notable presence of great numbers of Xavier faculty, students and alumni. A man who had been taught by Brother Cyprian in the eighth grade at St. Anthony's more than forty years earlier pronounced what might be regarded as a fitting epitaph: "There we were, a bunch of rag-tag kids from the cold-water flats of Greenpoint, and Brother Cyprian made us feel that we were special."