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Sts. Felicity and Perpetua

Sts. Felicity and Perpetua by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

Now dawned the day of their victory, and they went forth from the prison into the amphitheatre as it were into heaven, cheerful and bright of countenance; if they trembled at all, it was for joy, not for fear. Perpetua followed behind, glorious of presence, as a true spouse of Christ and darling of God; at whose piercing look all cast down their eyes. Felicity likewise, rejoicing that she had borne a child in safety, that she might fight with the beasts, came now from blood to blood, from the midwife to the gladiator, to wash after her travail in a second baptism.
—The Passions of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, 203 A.D.

North Africa, Martyred 203.

Perpetua’s feast day is March 7.

Lonneman collection: 
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St. Perpetua:

Perpetua was born to a noble pagan family. She was a convert, laywoman, wife, and mother.  Perpetua was martyred with her maid, friend, and fellow convert St. Felicitas. In centuries past, their story was so popular that St. Augustine had to warn against giving it the weight of Scripture. 

Died: Martyred March 7, 203 at Carthage; beheaded after being mauled by wild beasts. 

Also known as:  Vivia Perpetua 

St. Felicity:

Felicity was a rich widow whose 7 sons were martyred in front of her just before her own execution. 

Died: Martyred in 165 at Rome; buried beside the Via Salria 

Also known as:  Felicitas 

Reading: 

The day of the martyrs' victory dawned. They marched from their cells into the amphitheater, as if into heaven, with cheerful looks and graceful bearing. If they trembled it was for joy and not for fear.

Perpetua was the first to be thrown down, and she fell prostrate. She got up and, seeing that Felicity was prostrate, went over and reached out her hand to her and lifted her up. Both stood up together. Rousing herself as if from sleep (so deeply had she been in spiritual ecstasy), she began to look around. To everyone's amazement she said, "When are we going to be led to the beasts?" When she heard that it had already happened she did not at first believe it until she saw the marks of violence on her body and her clothing.

The people, however, had demanded that the martyrs be led to the middle of the amphitheater. They wanted to see the sword thrust into the bodies of the victims, so that their eyes might share in the slaughter. Without being asked they went where the people wanted them to go; but first they kissed one another, to complete their witness with the customary kiss of peace.

Bravest and happiest martyrs! You were called and chosen for the glory and our Lord Jesus Christ.