Daily Saints

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) March 7th – St. Perpetua & St. Felicity

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) March 7th – St. Perpetua & St. Felicity

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അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) March 7th – St. Perpetua & St. Felicity

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity were Christian martyrs who lived during the early persecution of the Church in Africa by Emperor Severus.
With details concerning the lives of many early martyrs unclear and often based on legend, we are fortunate to have the actual record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as “The Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions,” was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.
In the year 203, Vivia Perpetua, a well-educated noblewoman, made the decision to follow the path of her mother and become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during the persecutions ordered by the Emperor Severus. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well, meaning he would receive instruction from a Catechist in the Catholic Christian faith and be prepared for Baptism.Her pagan father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. At 22-years-old, the well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live – including a baby son whom she was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was already a widow. Perpetua’s answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, “See that pot lying there? Can you call it by any other name than what it is? “Her father answered, “Of course not.” Perpetua responded, “Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am – a Christian.”This answer upset her father and he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days — even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment. Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens, including two slaves, Felicity and Revocatus, and Saturninus and Secundulus. Their instructor in the faith, Saturus, chose to share their punishment and was also imprisoned. Perpetua was baptized before taken to prison. She was known for her gift of “the Lord’s speech” and receiving messages from God. At the bottom of the ladder laid a large dragon to try to scare those journeying up away from Heaven. Perpetua first saw Saturus go up. After he reached the top of the ladder he said, “Perpetua, I wait for you, but take care that the dragon does not bite you. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn’t want to leave so “good a comrade” behind. Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, “If you think you suffer now, how will stand it when you face the wild beasts?” Felicity answered them calmly, “Now I’m the one who is suffering, but in the arena, another will be in me suffering for me because I will be suffering for him. “She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage. The officers of the prison began to recognize the power of the Christians and the strength and leadership of Perpetua. In some cases, this helped the Christians: the warden let them have visitors – The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with “shining steps as the true wife of Christ, the darling of God. “When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. “We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn’t lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn’t have to worship your gods.” She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes. The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. The two were thrown out and attacked, but the crowd cried out they had had enough. The women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena to face the gladiators. Perpetua called out to her brother and other Christians, “Stand fast in the faith, and love one another. Do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you.”Perpetua and Felicity stood side by side and were killed by sword at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Sts. Perpetua and Felicity are the patron saints of mothers, expectant mothers, ranchers and butchers. Their feast day is celebrated on March 7.

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