Perpetua and Felicity were two early Christian martyrs. Perpetua was a 22-year-old married noblewoman with a newborn, and Felicity was Perpetua’s slave and an expectant mother. They were imprisoned and martyred together in Carthage on March 7, 203. 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 adopted by a Christian woman) two days before she was martyred. Their feast day is celebrated March 7.
“Stand fast in the faith, and love one another, all of you, and be not offended at my sufferings.” — St. Perpetua
Questions for Reflection:
- The images of a nursing mother and an expectant mother being imprisoned for their faith and then tortured and violently, publicly killed 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?
- Perpetua and Felicity both had much to lose in standing up for their Christian faith. Have you ever been faced with standing up for your faith at a cost? How can you use the example of Perpetua and Felicity when it comes to being a believer?