Saint Crispin of Viterbo

Capuchin Lay Brother

At an early age he learnt from his mother the deep veneration to our Blessed Lady which characterised him throughout his life. Born on November 13th 1668, Pietro Fioretti received his early education from the Jesuits and then followed the trade of shoemaker like Felix of Nicosia, until at the age of twenty five he joined the Roman Province of the Capuchins. (July 22nd 1693). He chose the name Crispin because of his trade.

In the Novitiate house at Paranzane, the Father Guardian hesitated to receive him because he looked so delicate and was diminutive; but as it turned out Brother Crispin proved equal to the heaviest tasks. After making vows he was sent as cook to the convent at Tolfa. There as always, he continued to venerate the Blessed Virgin and through Crispin, she healed many sick people, often while curing the physical illness any spiritual illness was healed as well.

While tending to a distinguished man who lay ill and had asked for Crispin's aid, Crispin said "Sir, you want the Blessed Virgin to cure you, but tell me, he who offends the Son does he not also grieve the Mother? True veneration of the Blessed Virgin consists in not offending her Divine Son in any way". The man began to weep for his sin and promised to amend his life.

Along with his work as infirmarian he was also a cook, gardener and for forty six years acted as questor. From his early years as a Capuchin until his death, he was blessed with the gift of miracles and an infectious joy and cheerfulness. Both laity and ecclesiastics sought him for encouragement. In his many years of questing in Orvieto, he not only became the provider for his Capuchin family, but begged for all the poor. Throughout his life, Crispin's spirituality was based on his trust in Mary Immaculate.

In the true style of a son of Saint Francis, he preserved his cheerful spirit until his death. It was on May 19th 1750, at the age of eighty two that he breathed his last. His body, which is still incorrupt (1959), is honoured in the Capuchin Church in Viterbo. His feast is celebrated on May 19th.