Crispin of Viterbo
|St. Crispin of Viterbo, O.F.M. Cap.|
13 November 1668|
|Died||19 May 1750
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||7 September 1806 by Pope Pius VII|
|Canonized||20 June 1982 by Pope John Paul II|
|Major shrine||Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception, Rome, Italy|
Saint Crispin of Viterbo, O.F.M. Cap., (13 November 1668 – 19 May 1750) was an Italian member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin who is now venerated as a saint for his decades of devoted service, and the spiritual wisdom he developed in the course of his life.
Crispin was born Pietro Fioretti in Viterbo, Italy. When he was five years old, his mother took him to a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary that lay a short distance from Viterbo, where she consecrated him to the Mother of God and placed her son under Mary's special protection. The child was known for his piety and knowledge of the saints; so that the townsfolk of Viterbo were wont to call him il santarello (the little saint). He received his education from the Jesuits, before being apprenticed to his uncle, who was a shoemaker.
At the age of twenty-five he applied for admission as a lay brother, to the Capuchin house in Viterbo. Upon being accepted, he took the name Crispin. After having served for some time as a gardener and cook in the friary at Viterbo, he was sent to Tolfa, a town not far distant from Civitavecchia, to become the infirmarian. During an epidemic, he is said to have effected a number of cures, by his prayers. From tolf he was sent to Rome and later to Albano and Bracciano. Crispin was visited by illustrious men of the world, by bishops and cardinals, and even by the pope himself, who always took delight in conversing with the humble lay brother. It was Crispin's constant endeavor to imitate the virtues of his patron, St. Felix of Cantalice, whom he had chosen as his model of perfection at the beginning of his religious life.
At Orvieto, he served as questor, soliciting alms for the community. So fond of him were the local housewives, that they refused to deal with a replacement, and the superior re-appointed Brother Crispin.
Like St. Felix, Crispin used to call himself the ass or beast of burden of the Capuchins, and, having on one occasion been asked by a stranger why he went bare-headed, Crispin answered, that "an ass does not wear a hat." Enfeebled by old age and by his numerous austerities, he was sent from Albano to Rome by his superiors, there to end his holy life. His body, which even at the present time is still in a remarkable state of preservation, rests under one of the side altars in the famed Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome.