Sisters' Words of Wisdom: Sisters Andrine and Andriette Schommer, OSB
Sisters Andrine and Andriette Schommer were born in Munich, North Dakota, in a family of nine children of German heritage. As identical twins, they shared everything. Twins ran in their family on their father’s side. When asked what’s life like as a twin, they respond by saying, “What’s life like not being a twin? We’ve never known it any other way!”
The sisters moved at three years old to Jordan, Minnesota, in support of their father’s (Henry), new painting job. This was a career their brother, Mark, followed in. The seven girls and second brother shared a passion for community, and all pursued teaching careers. The entire family – including aunts, cousins, godmother and older sister, Rosella – followed the Benedictine rule. The twin sisters were naturally drawn to the Benedictine order. They signed up as novices in 1949. It was at that time they gained the honorary title of being part of the 49ers.
Both twins graduated from the College of St. Catherine with degrees in elementary education. Sister Andriette taught elementary grades for forty-two years at schools in St Paul, Chanhassen, Minneapolis, St. Bonifacius and Robbinsdale. Sister Andrine taught first and second graders for forty-nine years at schools in St. Paul, St. Bonifacius, Victoria and Minneapolis. Thirty of those years, Sister Andrine taught at Visitation School in Minneapolis. As dedicated teachers, they continued to assist at Maple Tree Childcare Center after their retirement where they were dedicated to the care and feeding of the children.
The Sisters express found memories of their childhood where they were able to dress alike since there were a pair of twins across the street and sets of clothes were handed down for them to enjoy. Later, they wore uniforms the remainder of their high school years. The twins were both gifted with playing the organ and were avid roller skaters. A favorite shared memory from their childhood is going across the street to ride the neighbor’s prized bike and share a pint of maple nut ice cream (which is still their favorite). Reflecting on their days as Benedictine aspirants, they enjoyed French braid Friday nights. As novices, they enjoyed singing and new words to songs that resembled their lifestyle.
The Sisters are also avid Minnesota Twins fans. In May of 1969, the Sisters presented a plaque from the Council in gratitude to Twins Baseball manager, Billy Martin, for originating the annual Nun’s Day at Met stadium. Randy Merriman, WCCO Announcer and MC, met with the Sisters at “Fans in the Stands” program in recognition of their ongoing fan support.
Today, the twins begin each day at St. Paul’s Monastery with Sister Andrine bringing coffee into Sister Andriette’s room so they can pray the Benedictine prayer together before they proceed to morning prayer in the chapel. They have similar fashion style but Sister Andriette enjoys the color blue where Sister Andrine tends to choose pink and red (an insider tip on telling them apart).
The Sister’s are in tandem agreement that their best Words of Wisdom are: “Take one day at a time. Live for the Lord. And always do your best!”
Their favorite scripture is found in Prayers for Healing (Catholic.org).
Lord, look upon me with your eyes of mercy. May Your healing spirit rest upon us. May your life-giving powers flow into every cell of my body and into the depts of my soul. Restore my strength for service into Your kingdom. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach us to reach out to You in our need and help us to lead others to You by our example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring us health in body and spirit that we may serve You with all our strength. Amen