Words of Remembrance for Brother Edmund Dwyer, FSC

Written by Brother Joseph Jozwiak, FSC
September 4, 2014
Mass of Christian Burial
De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ

It is a great honor for me to write these words of remembrance at this Mass of Christian Burial for Brother Edmund Dwyer. I have had the pleasure of living with Edmund for the past five years at Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Syracuse, New York. Over these past few years, our community has been small in number and consequently we all had the opportunity to get to know Edmund as he progressed into his senior years.

Brother Edmund has spent his lifetime doing great things with great love. He was able to take Mother Teresa’s advice and scale it back to small things with great love. Edmund wanted to be remembered as being a loving and spiritual person. Whether at community prayer, Mass, mental prayer, reciting the rosary, or reading his favorite spiritual book, Edmund was clearly a prayerful Brother who held the Eucharist at the center of his life.

Brother Edmund (or Dennis as he was known prior to becoming a Brother), grew up in Syracuse’s Strathmore neighborhood. He knew by his sophomore year at Syracuse Central High School that he was destined to be a “man of the cloth” – which cloth was yet to be determined. One rainy afternoon, after a summer mission camp at St. Lucy’s Church on the Near West Side, Brother Edmund felt compelled to knock on the rectory door. The priest answered, told him he was too skinny, he was going to get consumption, and he should go home and get a good meal. Not to be discouraged, he took his father’s advice to visit CBA.

Dennis Dwyer was inspired by a “terrific fellow Irishman” named Brother Marcellus Leo and entered the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1940 taking the religious name of Brother Ansbert Edmund. He became an educator and guidance counselor to primary and secondary students within the then New York Province, always drawn to the homeless, the orphans, the delinquents or all three.

For 25 years, Brother Edmund taught at La Salle Academy in New York City. By day, he taught and ministered to the lonely and the marginalized. By night, he rode his bicycle to St. Vincent’s Hospital to sit bedside with AIDS patients whose families had forsaken them. During a time when it took great courage to simply stand near those with AIDS, Edmund gave them hugs. He continued to visit and care for them, even after they’d been hopelessly discharged. On weekends, against the better judgment of the prison ward, Edmund would wander the residential area of Riker’s Island prison to see if anyone wanted to talk.

In 1980, Brother Edmund was one of 800 mourners at Dorothy Day’s wake and funeral. He used his faith as she did to buffer against burnout and despair in his daily work. And, like Dorothy Day, whose devotion to her neighborhood derelicts and drunks lacked truly measureable outcomes, so with Brother Edmund’s relentless devotion to the poor in spirit. But as St. Theresa of Lisieux admonished: results don’t matter to the prayerful. Edmund often spent days sitting silently beside a new patient, praying quietly to himself, until finally this dying man would give in, roll over to face him at last, and talk.

Edmund’s philosophy was simple: reach out to others, impact their lives, love them, and let them know they’re OK the way they are.

After La Salle, Edmund taught at the mission schools under the sponsorship of the New York District and spent eight years in Kamwenja College in East Africa. He returned to his hometown of Syracuse in 1996 and took up residence at CBA, working as a substitute teacher. Ed continued to work in AIDS ministry and also began to work with refugees in the local area as part of the Catholic Charities Refugee Relocation Program. Even in his later years, Edmund could be found in the CBA Development office, processing raffle ticket orders for the CBA raffle … small things, maybe, but always done with the greatest of love.

In his 16th Meditation in Time of Retreat, St. John Baptist de La Salle writes, “Oh! What joy a Brother of the Christian Schools will have when he sees a great number of his students in possession of eternal happiness, for which they are indebted to him by the grace of Jesus Christ! What a sharing of joy there will be between the teacher and his disciples! What a special union with one another there will be in the presence of God! It will be for them a great satisfaction, sharing together the blessings for which the call of God had given them hope, the wealth of the glorious heritage of God in the dwelling of the saints.”

Edmund, your life on earth was one of a truly prayerful and loving Brother to many. Now we commend you to your home in heaven, where God Himself, Mary His Mother, St. Joseph and all of the angels and saints will say “Welcome home, O faithful servant! You have earned your place amongst us!” May you rest in peace!

(Note: These words were used on the occasion of Brother Edmund’s reception of the “Purple & Gold” Award presented to him at CBA, Syracuse in 2013.)

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Br. Edmund Dwyer, FSC

Born Dennis Murray Dwyer in Syracuse, NY on January 30, 1921

Entered the Barrytown, NY, Juniorate on August 30, 1939, and Novitiate on June 27, 1940

Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Ansbert Edmund, on September 7, 1940

Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Oakdale, NY, in 1946


Br. Edmund died at De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ, on August 30, 2014




Thursday, September 4, 2014

Viewing beginning at 10:00 am
Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am

De La Salle Hall
810 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ  07738-1608

Burial at St. Gabriel’s Cemetery, Marlboro, NJ


District: 100 masses
De La Salle Hall community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 
1 mass

Brother Edmund died peacefully in his room at De La Salle Hall during the early morning while in palliative care.  May he rest in peace.


New York, NY
St. Bernard School

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Sacred Heart School

teacher and sub-director
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Holy Name School

Buffalo, NY
St. Joseph High School

Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School

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La Salle School

teacher (sec sem)
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Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School

Kamwenja Teacher Training College

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Mater Christi High School

Kamwenja Teacher Training College

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Sangre de Cristo Center

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Cardinal Spellman High School

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La Salle Academy

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Christian Brothers Academy

Lincroft, NJ
De La Salle Hall