Twin Friars Never Parted, Even In Death

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Twins Julian and Adrian Riester answered the call of God together, becoming friars in the Franciscan order. The brothers, who were ordained 65 years ago, died within hours of each other this week.


Julian and Adrian Riester entered the world together. Twin brothers born in Buffalo, New York, they played the kinds of games twins do: fooling teachers when they sometimes took each other's tests at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

One day during World War II, the brothers received their acceptance from the Franciscan order in the morning, and orders from their draft board that afternoon. They told their draft board they had to answer the call of God and became friars.

For the next 65 years, they tended gardens and built and repaired church furnishings at St. Bonaventure University, repairing all the little things, like radios and shavers, that priests didn't know how to fix. Their cousin, Michael Riester, called them exemplary men and holy men. And they had this intimate, unselfish bond.

Julian Riester died Wednesday morning at the age of 92, and Adrian Riester died that afternoon - together from birth to death, ashes to ashes. Their cousin told the Buffalo News, if ever there's confirmation that God favored them, this is it. They were never really apart.

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