Denis Swann, O.P.
Born: July 13, 1923
Profession: September 20, 1955
Died: August 26, 2005
Brother Denis Swann was born on July 13, 1923 in Piney Point, MD, to Benjamin and Anita (Guyther) Swann. After graduating from St. Michael High School in Ridge, Maryland, he served in the United States Army from 1948 to 1950 in both Japan and Korea. Four years later, he made the decision to enter the Dominican Province of St. Joseph as a Cooperator Brother, received the Dominican Habit, and began his Novitiate on February 15, 1954, at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Brother Denis made his Simple Profession of vows on September 20, 1955, renewed his Profession in 1958 at St. Vincent Ferrer Priory in New York, where he made his Solemn Vows in 1961.
Throughout his long service to God, the Province, and the People of God as a faithful and dependable Dominican Brother, Brother Denis was assigned to several communities, including St. Stephen, Dover, MA; St. Vincent Ferrer, New York, NY; St. Gertrude, Cincinnati, OH; Holy Name, Philadelphia, PA; and during his last 29 years, at St. Pius in Providence, RI.
Wherever he was assigned under his vow of obedience, Brother Denis gave himself fully in his quiet and constant way, to the fulfillment of his duties as a Cooperator Brother, which, as the name implies, meant collaborating with the Fathers in the service of the people of the parish. Whether as sacristan, trainer of altar servers, keeping track of community and parochial finances, or simply in a ministry of presence, Brother Denis was faithful to his vocation. When his health failed at last, he was in a nursing home in Rhode Island, still doing what he could to bring comfort to his fellow residents.
At the Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by the Vicar Provincial, V. Rev. Raymond Daley, O.P., at St. Pius Church, Bro. Denis’s family and very many of the parishioners were present, in addition to a large number of Dominicans, including three of his Cooperator Brother classmates in full habit, one of whom, Brother Kevin O’Connell, shared reflections in a moving tribute to Brother Denis. Special mention was made of his constant presence in St. Pius Church for so many years, greeting the people both before and after Mass. Even the program for the funeral Mass had a photo of Brother Denis with the caption underneath: “He even knew our names”. Burial then followed in the Dominican Friars’ section of St. Francis Cemetery in Providence, RI.