You might have noticed them serving at Mass or at a pizza fritta sale. Or, you might have seen them volunteering somewhere in the community. Angelina and Isabella Mancuso are 15 years old, and they’re identical twins. They are being confirmed later this year.
Is your relationship with your twin different than with your older sister Anastasia? Some say there is a special connection between twins.
Angelina: There is a special connection between Isabella and me. If I am not with her for a long period of time I tend to develop a stomach ache, but the older I get the more I think it may be a mental thing.
Isabella: Though I do not love one sister more than the other, the bonds I share with each of them are very different. It is not that one relationship is stronger than another, they are just different. My twin is literally my other half; Angelina and I are like a team. If Angelina and I were conjoined twins, the only difference there would be in appearance. I and Angelina have never been separated for longer than nine hours. Anastasia, in a similar way, is my best friend. Anna and I know everything about each other and share a very tight relationship. But I manage to function just fine when separated from her for mass periods of time.
What has your older sister taught you?
Angelina: My older sister has taught me to cope with death. When my coach passed away, she walked me through everything and taught me the importance of paying my respects. She also taught me and my twin the proper way to act in public when my parents are not around. And lastly, she has a mother-like connection with me and my sister at school, keeping an eye on us all the time and correcting us when we’re wrong.
Isabella: My older sister has taught me many things. Anastasia has taught me two very significant lessons, though. One is savor the time I have with loved ones. And the other is in order to receive respect, you need to give it, and if respect is not returned, it is critical that it is still given.
Are there ever any sisterly fights?
Angelina: Just like any American family with three girls in it we do have disagreements leading to fights, usually over clothes or who is doing the dishes — nothing serious or major. The majority of the time we get along very well.
Isabella: In my household, there are often minor disagreements between the girls. There are never any serious arguments, though — usually just over clothes. We get along most when on vacation or taking extended car rides.
Your dad seems outnumbered with four women in the family. How does he cope?
Angelina: My dad is very outnumbered, but luckily he has selective hearing (only joking). He actually somehow seemed to raise us three girls very well and was successful in life. My father is very idealistic. I hope I could be like my father someday, smart, understanding, patient and last but not least, good looking.
Isabella: Well, we have a male dog! My father is actually pretty easy going — plus, he has his own bathroom!
What have your parents taught you about God and religion?
Angelina: Your faith in your religion is just as important as your existence. Faith seems to be what keeps communities, parishes and families together.
Isabella: As a Christian, it is my pleasure and duty to follow the Ten Commandments. My religious education teachers and weekly Mass have allowed me to understand and believe that our eternal salvation will be gained by faith, hope and love – “The greatest of these being love.”
In addition to being altar servers, you work at pizza fritta sales and other parish events and also volunteer in the community. Why do you do it and what do you get out of it?
Angelina: I personally love serving, working at pizza fritta, parish events and volunteering in the community. I also help teach the kindergarten class at church. The main teacher is GraceAnne Guzski and she is very inspirational, so I enjoy helping. It makes me feel good about myself knowing I put a smile on someone else’s face; whether it’s one person or several people, it does make a difference. It is also very eye opening. It helps me realize I sometimes take all that I have for granted, and I then realize I am very fortunate.
Isabella: I enjoy giving back to the community. I was always told not to take my fortune for granted. By helping those in need I get a better understanding of how fortunate I really am. Most people volunteer for the feeling of satisfaction. My reason is a little different. If there is an opportunity for me to help someone, and I do not take it, I have a horrible feeling. By doing the little things I do to help, I avoid this feeling.
You’ve been attending Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament since you were born. What does the parish mean to you?
Angelina: Being involved at Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament is a huge part of my life. Making my way to church on a Sunday morning is just as important as making my way to my grandparents on a Sunday morning. Our parish is a second family to me.
Isabella: This parish is not only tradition, but it is also family and community. Often, I am stopped at church by older members who have witnessed my childhood and they like tell me how they have seen me grow to what I have become.
You are in this year’s Confirmation class. Many times, after they are confirmed, some of the teens don’t return to church. What would you tell these people?
Angelina: Children getting confirmed and not following up with their religion is like getting an education and failing to use their knowledge. Jesus suffered an unbearable death for us. There is no reason they cannot show their appreciation by going to Mass and praying for one hour out of the week.
Isabella: Unfortunately, many people only go to church for their sacraments and on the holidays. These people are only hurting themselves. I guess we really cannot expect these people to know the value of their faith if they do not go to church long enough to learn about it. Hopefully, the new pope will find a better way to allow people to fully comprehend the importance in their faith. They need to know that their parents only did half of the work in their creation.
If you can ask God one question or favor, what would it be?
Angelina: Why is it that anyone has to die a painful or unexpected death? My Aunt Fanita is very sick and I pray every night that she feels good and is safe. I hope you’re listening to my prayers.
Isabella: I would ask God to eliminate all suffering and sickness of every kind. In the past few years, my mother lost three of her closest friends. Not only did these three amazing people suffer during their last few, but as a result, so has my mother. She still is.
Angelina and Isabella Mancuso
School: Proctor High School.
Family: Parents Michael and Michelle, sister Anastasia, and George (brother/canine).
Angelina’s favorite things to do: Activities with friends and family.
Isabella’s favorite things to do: Be with my friends/family, travel, shop.
Angelina’s favorite book: “Animal Farm,” by George Orwell.
Isabella’s favorite book: “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”
Angelina’s favorite movie: “Toy Story.”
Isabella’s favorite movie: “Annie.”
Angelina’s favorite TV show: “House Hunters” (preferably international).
Isabella’s favorite TV show: “Full House.”