This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 25 -- Feast of Sts. Crispin and Crispinian

There's not much to go on with these guys, but that hardly matters to you Anglophiles out there. St. Crispin's Day (and for Shakespeare types, St. Crispin's Eve) is more historic and civic than holy.

These two Roman brothers, perhaps patricians, preached the Gospel in Gaul. While doing so, they also worked as shoemakers so they would not live on alms. I find this vocational detail (in the modern sense of the term) curious -- you don't hear of many saints who scruple the handout --I believe it was generally considered important to maintain humility. But good for them -- surely there's no shame in plying a trade to pay their own way.

They may or may not have fled to Haversham, Britain to escape persecutions in Gaul. Whether or not they did, their feast is a red letter day in British history. The English army under Henry V, outnumbered by at best 4-3 and at worst 2-1, inflicted a crushing defeat on the French.

In his 1599 play Henry V, William Shakespeare made sure British audiences would not forget the date of the battle with this famous pre-battle speech:
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

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