Twin Lives, One Love


Julian and Adrian Riester were identical twins.  They came into this world 92 years ago, on March 27, 1919.  Their advent probably surprised their parents after a run of five daughters!  They attended Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.  They attempted to join the military during World War II, but were turned away due to poor eyesight.  They became Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name province in New York.

Initially they had separate assignments, but were reunited at the seminary of Saint Bonaventure from 1951-1956.  They then served parish assignments in Buffalo for 17 years, before returning to Saint Bonaventure for another 35 years.  They served as carpenters, gardeners and drivers.  They were completely inseparable.

On June 1, 2011 the twins who came into this world together, went out of this world together, dying only a few hours apart at Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg, Florida.  I suspect that God arranged for them to both behold the Beatific Vision for the first time together.

My two sons are fraternal twins, and the bond between them is strong, even though, or perhaps especially because, one is autistic and one is not.  From what I have seen such a bond is not uncommon between twins.  When twins take this bond and unite it with a love of God, they can become a potent symbol of God’s love in this vale of tears, which is precisely how Julian and Adrian Riester spent their 92 years on this planet, and will, no doubt, be how they spend eternity.    Two lives well spent indeed.