Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs

This week’s featured Saints of the Week are Perpetua and Felicity, living in Carthage, North Africa in the early third century, who along with four companions were slain in the "Circus" in the year 203 during the reign of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus.  Perpetua came from a wealthy family and Felicity was her slave girl.  Perpetua was a mother of two, one still an infant, who was allowed to stay with her while imprisoned because the baby was still nursing.  Felicity was 17 years old and 7 months pregnant when they were arrested and imprisoned. Perpetua, Felicity and their 4 companions were catechumens in formation to become Christians at the time of their imprisonment.  They were baptized in prison shortly before their executions in the arena.  They all resisted intense pressure to renounce their faith.  Perpetua’s father pleaded with her to do so, but she famously responded, “Father do you see this water jar, or whatever it is, standing here? Could one call it by any other name than what it is? Well, in the same way I cannot be called by any other name than what I am—a Christian.” Felicity was worried that she would not be able to enter the arena with her friends because she was still pregnant.  After prayer with her companions she miraculously gave birth to a baby girl just prior to the scheduled day of their executions. 

We know so much about this early account because Perpetua kept a diary while imprisoned which survived to this day.  The diary was completed by a friend, at Perpetua’s request, chronicling in detail the gruesome, yet heroic death of all 6 martyrs.  Perpetua and Felicity were ultimately killed by the sword; the others, mauled by beasts.  Each were killed in the manner they expressed a desire for prior to entering the arena.  These were two young mothers with infant children and their whole lives in front of them.  The diary is a must read and begs the question, how many of us would show that kind of courage today?

Feast day: March 7

Patrons Saints of: Widows, 
mothers, expectant mothers, ranchers and butchers.

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage. Amen

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us!

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