A few weeks ago, Brother Denis came back from the Nairobi fraternity in Kenya, so that he could be admitted to hospital in Lyons. It was discovered there that he was suffering from an irreversible brain tumour. He then returned to Taizé on November 10. In the night of Friday to Saturday November 28, on the eve of the beginning of Advent, during his sleep he entered into the life of eternity.
Just over half a century ago, Brother Denis, who was an architect, designed the Church of the Reconciliation in Taizé. Other buildings for which he drew the plans include the church of St Joseph the Worker in the shanty town of Kangemi, in Nairobi, visited by Pope Francis on Friday 27 November during his Apostolic Visit in Africa.
During 2015, Brother Denis created tree bark icons depicting a Way of the Gospel at St Stephen’s Source, shown on a page of the site, and a temporary exhibition of his artwork was shown in Taizé over the past few months.
At the beginning of the Eucharist celebrated in his memory on Tuesday 1 December, Brother Alois read the following prayer:
Christ Jesus, we entrust to you Denis, our brother whom you have welcomed in eternal life, close to you. With humble faith and a sincere heart he believed in you and responded to your call, placing the great creative gifts he had in your service. With the brothers, whether in Taizé or in fraternities, he bore witness to your love. He loved Africa, he loved those with whom he lived in Kenya and in Senegal. We praise you for his life among us and entrust him to your love. Holy Spirit, you fill us with hope, as you filled Denis, our brother, and even if our faith is very small we dare to say with our lives: “Christ has risen!”