Crispin, who lived during the Age of Enlightenment, showed the enlightenment that gospel living provides.
Born in Orvieto, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. In 1693 he received the Franciscan Capuchin habit and the name Crispin. After serving as a cook at Tolfa and Albano, he was the official beggar of the friary in Orvieto for almost 40 years.
He developed a reputation for curing the sick and catechized those he encountered in his work. The poor and needy recognized him as their friend. One of Crispin’s favorite sayings was, “God’s power creates us, his wisdom governs us, his mercy saves us.” He was canonized in 1982.
Henri de Lubac, S.J., once wrote, “We should have a great love for our age, but make no concessions to the spirit of the age, so that in us the Christian mystery may never lose its sap” (The Splendor of the Church, p. 183). Crispin appreciated the people whom God brought into his life and the historical period in which God placed him. Crispin became a living gospel for his confreres and for the people of Orvieto. His holiness encouraged them to live out their baptism more generously.
During his homily at Crispin’s canonization, Pope John Paul II said that the human family is frequently “tempted by false autonomy, by denial of Gospel values, for which it necessarily needs saints, that is, models who concretely express by their lives the reality of Transcendence, the values of the Revelation and Redemption achieved by Christ” (L’Osservatore Romano 1982, Vol. 26, No. 1).