On March 7th, we celebrate two beautiful saints, Perpetua and her servant Felicity. Despite family and political pressure to denounce her faith, Perpetua remained true until her end. At the age of 22, Perpetua was imprisoned for refusing to deny her faith. Taken from her baby at first, she described the time of her captivity full of anxiety for her child but was then granted leave to have the infant with her. After being rejoined with her child, she claimed that the,
"prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”
Felicity, a slave woman and expectant mother, suffered alongside Perpetua with three other companions who refused to denounce their Christian faith.
The martyrs were sentenced to death by beasts in the public games in the amphitheater. Perpetua and Felicity were publicly beheaded while the others imprisoned were killed by the beasts.
We, as modern day Catholic Christians, can learn much from the story of holy friendship and martyrdom of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity in as much persecution for religious beliefs still exists widely in the world. Whether it is the atrocities committed against the Jews of WWII, Christians suffering today in the Middle East, or undermining attacks in our own country against religious buildings, peaceful marches, or expressing our beliefs we can take hope in our persecution for the greater glory of God and remaining true to the faith.
May we have the strength, dignity, beauty and grace like Perpetua and Felicity to greet adversity for the faith.