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 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 adopted by a Christian woman) two days before she was martyred. Their feast day is celebrated on 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 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 to parents make in order to nurture the spiritual lives of their children?