Stories of Saints and Martyrs - Jetta S. Wolff

Sts. Crispin and Crispian

Oct. 25; A.D. 288

There lived once at the town of Soissons in France two brothers, who went by the names of Crispin and Crispian. They were by birth Romans, of noble family, and were men of great culture. But they had learned to know the Saviour, and had been baptized Christians, just at the time of the Diocletian persecution, of which you have already heard; and when they found themselves obliged to give up their wealth and their position on account of their faith, they cheerfully put themselves to learn a trade, and in a little while set up in the city as simple shoemakers.

The brothers worked away at their cobbler's bench, never missing a chance of sowing the good seed of the faith of CHRIST, while they made, we may be sure, good and worthy shoes for the citizens of Soissons—shoes worthy not of the wearers but of the makers—of these earnest, high-minded men who toiled so gladly at a lowly trade, if thereby they might serve their Master, and show themselves His faithful followers.

But they were not left at peace, even to work as simple cobblers. The persecutors fell upon them before long. Their family was very highly thought of in Rome, and great riches and honours were promised to the brothers if they would give up Christianity and sacrifice to the Roman gods. On the other hand, torment, torture, every ill was threatened if they persisted in their faith.

The brave men, who had already done so much to show the strength of their belief in JESUS, were not likely to waver even for a moment now. They were thrown into prison. Then came the rack and the irons. When all that the wicked persecutors could think of to torture them was shown to be useless, the brothers were beheaded.

St. Crispin's Day is known in England as the shoemakers' fete, or feast-day. St. Crispin is said to be their patron saint.

In France a good monk founded an order which he named "Les Freres Cordonniers "—meaning "the shoemaker brothers." The people who joined this order were not expected to be shoemakers, but simply to show themselves willing to do any kind of work, the simplest, the lowliest, whatever came before them, as to GOD, "not with eye-service as men-pleasers." The society was meant for the hallowing of all work; its members were to be ready, like SS. Crispin and Crispian, whatever their rank or education, to turn their hands to the humblest trade, or stoop to the meanest duty, from the moment they could serve GOD thereby.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, in the grave, whither thou goest."