THE POPE canonised the first saint of his reign last week. The new saint is St Crispin of Viterbo, an Italian Capuchin brother who died in 1750.
In his homily during the more than two-hour Sunday canonisation Mass, the Pope said St Crispin, "this authentic son of Francis of Assisi, offers a lesson of humble and faithful adhesion to God, to poverty, to obedience to the Church, to commitment to Mary."
Pope John Paul, elected in October 1978. noted in his noontime Angelus talk to about 40.000 people in St Peter's Square that "this is the first time during my service in the See of Peter that I have the joyous destiny to carry out a canonisation."
St Crispin was born Pietro Fioretti in Viterbo, on November 13. 1668. After working as a shoemaker, he joined the Capuchins in 1693 and took the name Brother Crispin, after the patron saint of cobblers.
He was best remembered for his nearly 40 years as questor (alms collector) for the order in Orvieto, Italy. In that capacity, he collected not only enough to provide for the order's needs, but enough to help all the poor in the town as well. During his 57 years in the Capuchins, St Crispin also worked as a cook, a nurse and a gardener.