Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Crispina, Martyr


Saint Austin informs us, that this glorious martyr was a lady of high birth, very rich, and engaged in the marriage state; that she had several children; and that though of a delicate and tender constitution, she was endued with a masculine courage, preferred heaven to earth, and God to the world, and, despising the tears of her children, rejoiced to see herself taken and called to confess Jesus Christ on a scaffold, and in the sight of the whole world. Her acts we have only imperfect, giving an account of her last examination. By them we learn that she was a native of Thagara, in the Proconsular Africa, and was apprehended for professing the faith of Christ, and conducted to Thebeste, before Anulinus the proconsul of Africa. This magistrate exhorted her to sacrifice to the gods, as the edicts of the emperors commanded. The martyr answered: “I have never sacrificed, nor do sacrifice to any other than to one God, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, who was born and suffered for us.” Anulinus threatened her with the rigour of the law. She said that she adored and knew only one God, and observed the law of Jesus Christ, her Lord. The proconsul pressed her to give some token of piety towards the gods. “There can be no devotion and piety,” said the martyr, “where every thing is compulsion.” When he again thundered out his threats, she replied: “That his torments were nothing; but that if she despised the God of heaven, she should incur the guilt of sacrilege, and be punished by him at the last day.” Anulinus commanded that her head should be shaved, and that she should be publicly shown in this condition, and exposed to the derision of the people. Crispina said: “If the gods are offended at my words, let them speak themselves.” Anulinus in great anger said she should be treated as her companions Maxima, Donatilla, and Secunda had been before. She made answer: “My God is with me to preserve me from ever consenting to the sacrilege which is required of me.” The proconsul then ordered the whole process of what had passed at the trial to be read aloud; after which he dictated the sentence of death against her. Crispina, flushed with joy, gave thanks to God and was led to execution. She was beheaded on the 5th of December, 304, and is named in the Roman Martyrology. See her authentic acts in Mabillon, Analecta, and Ruinart.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Crispina, Martyr”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 December 2013. Web. 25 February 2017. <>