(VIDEO) Canberra’s identical twin Popes
MUM-of-four Clare Brooker did a ‘saint check’ before each child was born to check the names she had chosen were saints’ names.
With her identical twin boys she could almost have done a Pope check too – they are named John Paul and Benedict.
Strictly speaking the four-year-olds are John and Benedict, but John’s middle name is Paul, and Clare’s Mum Anna is Polish, so John Paul and Benedict seem the right fit.
And that is how they are known in Poland where Anna’s relatives ask “How are the little Popes?”
While yet to detect any signs of holiness, Clare said the pair do seem to have taken a vow of naughtiness.
“A few weeks ago we overheard John say, ‘Benny, let’s be naughty’,” Clare chuckled.
“It must be a twin thing; sometimes the effect of naughtiness is exponentially magnified because of the twin factor.”
A lawyer with the ACT Government, Clare and husband Phil, who is employed by the Federal Government, work four days a week and each spend a day at home with the boys. The other three days the twins attend day care.
Older sisters Catherine, 11 and Therese, 9 attend Rosary Primary School in Watson.
It goes without saying that learning she was expecting twin boys was a shock for then 39-year-old Clare.
“Our first thoughts were, this is amazing, what a miracle,” she said.
“The girls would be five and seven when the boys were born so we were just so happy they would have each other, a ready made companion.”
It was Clare’s Mum Anna, a linguist at ANU, who instilled in her two daughters the idea that they name their children after saints.
“I always thought it was a nice thing to do, so the kids have a built-in patron saint,” Clare said.
She had long thought she would name a son John, after her beloved Dad.
“Phil’s grandfather was a John, and his Dad goes by John even though that is not his name, so it seemed a good head start,” Clare explained.
“We thought Benedict was a nice name and I was pretty sure there was a Saint Benedict.
“Then we discovered that Saint Benedict had a twin so we thought, ‘oh that must be a sign’.
“I was sick with my pregnancies and cannot remember all the discussions we had but it probably crossed our minds at some point that they were the names of two recent Popes.”
The proud Mum describes her sons as “dear little boys and a joy”.
“They can get up to mischief,” she adds quickly.
“They are active, rambunctious and very affectionate.”