I’m a bit slow to post something today because I find myself running around taking care of a number of details that relate to my impending departure for a month-long retreat along with all the other Franciscan friars in the United States and Canada who are preparing to profess Solemn Vows this summer in our respective provinces. In addition to packing and making various arrangements on this end, I have several editorial deadlines, essays to finish and article manuscripts that I need to send to this or that place before I drop off the usual radar for some contemplative time. That said, I took a moment to read through some of the hundreds of reader comments that people posted on the New York Times website in response to my fellow St. Bonaventure University alum and NYT staff writer Dan Barry’s story about my recently deceased Franciscan brothers, the twins so many have been discussing.

I offer here a selection of the many, many comments that have touched me. In an age when internet newspapers and blogs elicited all sorts of treacherous and often-times anonymous comments, seldom building up others but tearing people down, it was incredibly edifying to see such sympathy, kindness, spirituality and joy online. Julian and Adrian have indeed continued to minister in a gentle way to those who continue to be touched by their lives.  There are many more comments, but here is a selection.

Prayer, love, service.
No crystal cathedral, no self-named university, no crusade, no book tour, no public book burning, no sex scandal, no prayer breakfast with notable politicians, no TV show, no hate mongering at soldiers’ funerals.
Humility, kindness, joy.
Looks like SOME members of the clergy got Jesus’ message.
Great article. I’d like to encourage NYT to post more articles like this. This, being a real life story, lifts the spirit of people. Too many trash stories like the IMF man and Mr. Weiner littered the front page recently.
Bless them – they seem to have found in life AND death what so many of us spend a lifetime fruitlessly seeking: happiness and peace.
In this era where every motive is questioned, and every good person and good deed is suspected of a sinister sub plot, I thank-you for reminding us of the good and selfless. God Bless and God speed.
It all the “Spiritual” converstations I have had
– it was always the ‘Brothers’ and not the Priests
who had the best advice.

God Bless those twins and all who humbly serve.

What a wonderful story, of humility, life lived in simplicity, ego-less. How cruel to separate the twins, in 1956. For 17 years! It must have been terrible for both of them. This, separating siblings, I will never understand, but this isn’t the theme of the article.

Thank you, Mr. Dan Barry, for sharing this story with your readers. I feel the world is a better place because of those two good souls. May God bless them.

In their case the meek did inherit the earth. They seemed to be at one with it, to appreciate it and minister to it, and every day to revel in its gifts. Thank you for enriching our lives with the story of theirs.
As we say in Judaism, “May their memory be for a blessing”.
This reminds me of what Mother Teresa said, in reply to a question about the sheer magnitude of her operations and how she managed to achieve it under dire circumstances.

“You cannot do great things. You can only do small things with great love”.

Simple profound. This tale appears straight to be out of Chaucer’s Canterbury tales.

Humble religious like these friars are in the majority. The horror stories are out there, yes, but the vast number of priests and brothers are good men, and good followers of Christ.
This is simply a beautiful story and an example of spirituality. I’m very touched by these men. They are shining examples.
I will try to hold close the spirit of the brothers as I proceed in my work today. Thank you for a most wonderful story. Hard not to believe in a higher power.
Photo: Stock

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