Crispin of Viterbo


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Crispin (c. 285)


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Franciscan lay brother. Born at Viterbo (about 50 miles north of Rome), Peter Fioretti was apprenticed to his uncle, from whom he learnt shoemaking. In c.1693 he joined the Capucin community of Orvieto, taking the name of Crispin, the patron of shoemakers. In spite of his small stature and delicate constitution, he was accepted for profession. For the next forty-five years he dug gardens, cooked meals, and looked after the sick in various friaries, including those of Rome, Albano, and Bracciano. At Orvieto he was admirable as quaestor (the brother who asks for alms) for many years: he helped the unhappy, listened to those in despair, counselled and restored courage to many. He was always joyful and so well liked that when another brother was appointed as quaestor in his place, the housewives refused to receive him or support the community. The guardian was thus obliged to reappoint Crispin. His last years were spent in Rome, where he died at the age of eighty-two. He had counselled many in the towns and also taught the basics of the Christian faith to the mountain peasants. He was beatified in 1806 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982, who praised him as a ‘humble brother without any history, who simply accomplished his mission and understood the true value of our earthly pilgrimage’. Feast: 19 May.

Bibl. SS., iv. 311–13;Lives by P. de Langogne (1901) and I. da Alatri (1933). T. Lelièvre, Nouveaux saints et bienheureux (1990).

Subjects: Christianity.

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