minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Feminam Martyrum

Perpetua and Felicity

March the 7th, is the Feast Day for Saints Perpetua and Felicity, who were martyred in the year 203 under the orders of the Emporer Septimius Severus. The women along with a few other companions were from Carthage, an African province of the Roman Empire. They are two of seven women who are commemorated during the mass.

from the Eucharistic Prayer I in the Roman Missal

“To us, also, your sinful servants, who hope in your abundant mercies, graciously grant some share and fellowship with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, [Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia] and all your Saints: admit us, we beg you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon, through Christ our Lord.”

This is where I first remember hearing their names; listed with other saints and martyrs from the ancient church. Such lists must seem outlandish and strange to those not familiar with the liturgy. The recalling of saints and martyrs names from centuries ago, does serve a great purpose, not only in reminding us of the faithful from history, but to remind us that communion still exists between the church of old and of today.

The story of Perpetua and Felicity is a story that must amaze many people. A master and a slave, a nursing mother and a pregnant woman, and a bond of faith that would unite them in martyrdom. An account of the martyrdom The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity exists that was written by St. Perpetua. Unlike many of the early saints that leave very little detail about their lives, this document, or Passion story, tells us the story of their martyrdom and leaves little doubt about why thousands of years later, these women martyrs are still honored.

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