Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Saints Perpetua, Felicity, and their Companions, Holy Martyrs

I failed to note it on the blog this year, but last Saturday was the patronal feast of our ministry here in South Carolina. Below is an edited re-post from last year.

March 7 commemorates Saints Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions, who witnessed to the Faith by the shedding of their blood around the year AD 202 in Carthage, North Africa:

Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs

At the heart of their story is the testimony of St. Felicity as she gave birth in prison:

"But respecting Felicity... when she had already gone eight months with child (for she had been pregnant when she was apprehended), as the day of the exhibition was drawing near, she was in great grief lest on account of her pregnancy she should be delayed,—because pregnant women are not allowed to be publicly punished,—and lest she should shed her sacred and guiltless blood among some who had been wicked subsequently. Moreover, also, her fellow-martyrs were painfully saddened lest they should leave so excellent a friend, and as it were companion, alone in the path of the same hope. Therefore, joining together their united cry, they poured forth their prayer to the Lord three days before the exhibition. Immediately after their prayer her pains came upon her, and when, with the difficulty natural to an eight months' delivery, in the labour of bringing forth she was sorrowing, [a guard] said to her, 'You who are in such suffering now, what will you do when you are thrown to the beasts, which you despised when you refused to sacrifice?'

And she replied, 'Now it is I that suffer what I suffer; but then there will be another in me, who will suffer for me, because I also am about to suffer for Him.'

Thus she brought forth a little girl, which a certain sister brought up as her daughter." (5:2)

Charles Williams was of the opinion that in saying this, Felicity was found to have been placed in the ranks of the Doctors of the Church.

"Holy Martyrs of Carthage, Perpetua, Felicity, and Companions, pray to God for us that our souls may be saved."

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

Father, bless!

I trust that your patronal feast was a blessed day for you and your flock.

Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity and their Fellow-Martyrs have always been great inspiration to me.