Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

Double (1955 Calendar): March 6
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): March 7

Since this feastday often occurs during Lent, the feast of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity is kept as a Commemoration at Mass and in the Office.

St. Perpetua was young, beautiful, and well-educated a noblewoman of Carthage. She also was the mother of an infant son. Some of St. Perpetua's writings remain: “When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’”

During a period of persecution, Perpetua, Felicity (a slavewoman and expectant mother) and their three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus were all martyred because of their refusal to denounce their faith in Christ. Perpetua and Filicity were beheaded and their three companions were devoured by beasts. Felicity was martyred just three days after giving birth. Perpetua's mother also refused to denounce her faith so Perpetua's pagan father had her imprisoned.
"For the young women there was prepared a fierce cow. Perpetua was first led in. She was tossed, and when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it as a veil over her middle, rather mindful of her modesty than of her sufferings. Then the was called up again, and bound up her dishevelled hair, for it is not becoming for a martyr to die with dishevelled hair, which is a sign of mourning. She saw Felicity wounded, and took her hand and raised her up, and at the demand of the populace they were given a respite. 
"Now all the prisoners were to be slain with the sword, and they went to the center of the arena, first exchanging a farewell kiss of peace. The others died unmoving and silent, but when the awkward hand of the young executioner bungled her death-stroke, Perpetua cried out in pain, and herself guided his hand to her throat. Possibly such a woman could not have been slain unless she herself willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit" (Quote from The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3 edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts)
Imagine that - these five willingly refused to deny Our Lord and chose giving up their lives instead. We too must have that faith! We must not be afraid of losing our reputation or jobs for our faith in Christ and His Church. Sts. Perpetua and Filicity refused to give up their faith in Christ and earned eternal reward.

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12)

As Sts. Perpetua and Felicity illustrate, we must not be afraid to stand firm to our beliefs. We must never back down from the firm truths of the Catholic faith, the same faith that for which those two saints died. This is same faith that proclaims that Jesus Christ must be the center of our lives and hearts.

Here is an account of their coming deaths:
Now the day had arrived when they were to be thrown to the wild beasts. Felicitas began to be sorrowful because she feared she would have to wait longer than her companions. For eight months she had been pregnant and therefore, according to Roman law, could not be executed before the birth of the child. But the prayers of her fellow sufferers hastened her time and she gave birth to a baby girl.

While she was suffering from the pains of childbirth, one of the guards called out to her, "If you are suffering so much now, what will you do when you are thrown to the wild beasts?" "Now I suffer," she answered, "but there Another will be in me, who will suffer for me, because I will suffer for Him." When she was in travail she had sorrow, but when she was set before the wild beasts she rejoiced" (Roman Martyrology).

O Lord, our God, grant us the grace to honor with unfailing veneration the glorious martyrdom of SS. Perpetua and Felicitas; and, if we cannot sing praises worthy of these Saints, may we at least offer them our lowly homage. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

2 comment(s):

del_button November 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM
Anonymous said...

I am 12 and am doing a saint report and this really helped me God bless and thank you

del_button March 6, 2016 at 1:10 PM
Mr. Mcgranor said...

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

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