Saints Perpetua and Felicity

St. Perpetua and St. Felicity (d. 203 A.D.) were friends who lived in Carthage, North Africa. They were both catechumens preparing to receive the Church's sacraments: Perpetua was a married noblewoman nursing her first child, and Felicity was a pregnant Christian slave who worked as a household servant. Because Christianity was forbidden, they were seized along with two companions, one of them being their catechist. Perpetua's baptism was hastened after her arrest, and God told her to pray for strength to withstand her coming trials. While in prison she kept a detailed diary of her sufferings and mystical visions, one of the oldest and most treasured of early Christian writings. Her father, a pagan, pleaded with her to deny her faith, even bringing her infant, for whom she was anxious, to the prison in order to persuade her to apostatize. She refused. Felicity also remained steadfast in her faith, giving birth to a daughter while in prison a few days before her execution. Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions were condemned to be torn by wild animals in the arena. Perpetua understood that their contest was not with animals, but with the devil. She walked into the arena and met her fate with a joy and bravery that astonished many onlookers. Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions were mauled and then beheaded on March 7, 203. St. Perpetua and St. Felicity share a feast day on March 7th.
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