Saints Felicity and Perpetua were martyrs in the year 203AD, at Carthage in North Africa. The writer, Perpetua, was 22, a noblewoman, and in prison for refusing to give up her faith. With her was Felicity, a pregnant Christian slave. While in prison, Perpetua had a vision of "a golden ladder of wonderful length reaching up to heaven." Ascending the rungs, she perceived, "a vast garden sitting in the midst a tall man with white hair in the dress of a shepherd, milking sheep; and round about were many thousands clad in white. He raised his head and looked at me and said: 'Thou art well come, my child.'" He fed Perpetua with curds: "I received them in my joined hands and ate, and all that were round about said 'Amen.' At the sound of the word I awoke, still tasting something sweet." She understood from this that death was imminent. Felicity, meanwhile, gave birth and saw her child adopted by their jailor, a convert to Christianity.
Before being thrown to wild beasts, Perpetua and Felicity held an 'Agape Feast' in prison, where they talked about their joy in suffering for God to Pagans. Many converted. Perpetua and Felicity were later beheaded. Before dying, Perpetua cried aloud: "Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you." The lives of Perpetua and Felicity were often read aloud in public in the Early Church in Africa. May the courage of these brave women, and their example of placing Christ before all things inspire you.
Prayer St Felicity and St Perpetua
Lord, we thank you
that we are able to live
our faith in freedom.
We pray for those who suffer and
are persecuted for their belief in You.
With the intercession of
Saints Felicity and Perpetua,
we ask for the same courage,
to live out our faith with
integrity, perseverance and humility,
and the boldness to share our faith
with those around us.
Saints Felicity and Perpetua. Pray for us.