2 Franciscan brothers, who are also twin brothers, die on same day at age 92

Brother Julian Reister and his twin brother, Brother Adrian Reister died of old age on Wednesday at a hospital in St. Petersberg, Florida. They both were professed friars in the Franciscan order for over 65 years. “They became known as accomplished artisans who expressed their talents as gardeners and woodworkers, turning out tables and cabinets from their workshop in the garage of St. Bonaventure’s Franciscan Friary,” one news source says of them.

May perpetual light shine upon them, O Lord, and may their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through Your mercy, rest in peace. Amen.

From the moment of their birth in Buffalo 92 years ago, twin brothers Julian and Adrian Riester rarely left each other’s side.

They played together, went to school together, as young men traveled cross-country together — and, in their 20s, joined the Franciscan order together.

And on Wednesday, after 65 years as identical twins wearing the identical brown robes of the Franciscans — mostly at St. Bonaventure University — Brother Julian Riester and Brother Adrian Riester died together at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. Julian died Wednesday morning, followed by Adrian in the evening. Those who knew the Riesters best say they are not surprised at all.

“If ever there is a confirmation that God favored them, this is it,” said their cousin and close friend Michael Riester of Buffalo. “They weren’t even separated for 12 hours.”

The biological brothers were also religious brothers, committed to the monastic life of Franciscan friars, not as priests but in roles as physical laborers.

During two stints at St. Bonaventure, from 1951 to 1956 and from 1973 to 2009, “the twins” were a common sight strolling in lockstep across campus — or, in later years after a few “incidents” resulted in loss of their driver’s licenses, on identical bicycles wearing identical helmets. . . .

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  1. Mary

    Do we have a twin saints? Or could this pair be a first.
    Interesting article.

    1. Joseph A Heschmeyer

      Saints Cosmas and Damian are twin brothers. They also died on the same day (September 27), being martyred together.

  2. Maximilian Evardoni

    Mary, we have twin saints, I think. Saints Cyril and Methodius..

  3. Elizabeth

    St. Benedict and his twin sister Scholastica

  4. Billy Bean

    This is, to me, a very touching story. My Godfather in the Orthodox Christian faith was a twin. As a Roman Catholic, my patron saint is Saint Damian (twin brother of Saint Cosmas). I still ask his prayers, and those of the saints.

  5. Mary

    Beautiful story. You have identical specimens living identical lives die of the same cause which was basically old age,the same day.

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