Today is the feast of two early martyrs of the Roman empire, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. Both of them were young mothers. Perpetua had an infant son and Felicity was eight months pregnant when she was imprisoned. Perpetua was a noble woman, daughter of a Christian mother and pagan father. Her father begged her to deny her faith to save her life. Here's how she describes the scene:
“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.’”Felicity was a slave as were several other Christians arrested with the two women. All of them refused to deny their faith and sacrifice to pagan gods for the safety of the emperor. Instead they faced a bloody martyrdom in the amphitheater of the Roman province of Carthage in North Africa. We know a lot about these two women and the Christians who died with them because Perpetua kept a diary (I think of her as an early Christian blogger). Perpetua's diary ended the day before her death, but a zealous fellow Christian completed it with a description of the martyrdom where the group was first attacked by savage beasts and then put to the sword.
What an example these two women are for us today! We also live in pagan times - a post Christian country where our values are ridiculed and vilified. We can learn a lot about courage and endurance from these brave women who never faltered in their love of Christ. Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us.