Perpetua and Felicity were two early Christian martyrs. Perpetua was a 22-year-old married noblewoman with a newborn while Felicity was Perpetua’s slave and an expectant mother. They were imprisoned and martyred together in Carthage March 7, 203 AD. Their story is told in “The Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions,” part of which is Perpetua’s first-person account, considered the earliest text written by a Christian woman. While imprisoned, Perpetua kept her small son with her and nursed him. Felicity gave birth to a daughter, who was eventually adopted by a Christian woman, two days before she was martyred. Their feast day is celebrated March 7.
“It shall happen as God shall choose, for assuredly we depend not on our own power but on the power of God.” — St. Perpetua
Questions for Reflection:
- The images of a nursing mother and an expectant mother being imprisoned for their faith, then tortured and violently and publicly executed for it, seem unimaginable to us today. What challenges do modern parents of faith face?
- What kind of sacrifices do parents make in order to nurture the spiritual lives of their children?