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.

8 Responses to Twin Lives, One Love

  • I love twins! God bless these two. Thank you for an amazing story. An identical twin asked me about how many souls the embryo had before it twinned and I said I didn’t know. We can’t know those things really, but I told her that I imagine identical twins understand the Holy Trinity and consubstantiality in a way the rest of us cannot.

  • Thank you Stacy! My wife and I were childless for eight years before our twin boys came out of the blue, followed by their sister two and a half years later. Twins for me as a result will always be associated with overwhelming joy.

  • I have a twin.

    One observation: I was never alone. There was always the other me. Now, I think I am more concerned about my wife and children and everyone I encounter than if I hadn’t had a twin.

    Another observation: he’s about as far left as I am a right-wing nut. Go figure.

  • I was born a twin, but my twin, Diane, died 13 hours after we were born. We were born 2 months early. It was touch-and-go with me for a long time, as I weighed 2 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. A physician recently told me it was a miracle I survived, given the state of neonatal care in the 1950′s.

    I love my living siblings and am very close to my older sister, but always longed for my twin, especially when I felt lonely. When I was a small child I became confused about the notion of guardian angels and imagined that Diane was my guardian angel. I pictured this little kid who looked exactly like me with the addition of wings and a halo ( I knew I certainly had no halo!) following me around. It was comforting.

    After both my parents died, I had a very vivid dream one night. I forget most dreams within a few minutes of waking up, but this one has stayed with me for over 20 years. I walked into the living room of the house I grew up in and my parents were sitting there. There was someone standing at the window with her back turned to me. My parents said, “Donna, here’s someone we’d like you to meet.”

    But, of course, we had met already.

  • “After both my parents died, I had a very vivid dream one night. I forget most dreams within a few minutes of waking up, but this one has stayed with me for over 20 years. I walked into the living room of the house I grew up in and my parents were sitting there. There was someone standing at the window with her back turned to me. My parents said, “Donna, here’s someone we’d like you to meet.”

    But, of course, we had met already.”

    One of the joys of the life to come Donna: being reunited with loved ones we knew in this life, and those who have loved us from their vantage point in Heaven. How little of the vast sea of love God has created for us are we aware of in this vale of tears!

  • Some years ago the diocesan paper I worked for had a story about a local couple who had discovered, several months into the woman’s pregnancy, that the baby had a genetic disorder that was incurable and would inevitably cause her (the baby) to die either before birth or shortly afterward. They were, of course, advised by their doctors to abort but refused. Instead the couple scheduled a c-section close to term, and had a priest standing by to baptise (and confirm) the baby immediately after birth. The baby died about 90 minutes after she was born. Tragically, the same thing happened to their next baby (a boy) also. On their third try, however, they had twin girls who were perfectly healthy. I thought then and still think that was one of the most beautiful stories of faithfulness rewarded that I have ever seen.

  • I’m an identical twin. Unlike T. Shaw, we’re in perfect agreement about politics, and like Donna V., we were born about 2 months premature and didn’t weigh much more than she did. Our parents had us baptized on the day of our birth because they weren’t sure we’d survive. I spent the first two weeks after birth and my brother spent the first six weeks in incubators, but we’ve both managed to survive for nearly a half-century now.

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