March 7

(CNA) — Perpetua and Felicity were among five catechumens who, after refusing to worship the Roman emperor, died for the faith around the year 203.

“Mary and Child with Saints Felicity and Perpetua (Sacred Conversation),” or the “Sacra Conversazione,” is an anonymous painting from Greater Poland. (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

St. Perpetua was a young, well-educated, noblewoman and mother living in Carthage, North Africa. Her mother was a Christian and her father was a pagan. In terms of her faith, Perpetua followed the example of her mother. Despite the pleas of her father to deny her faith, Perpetua did the very opposite and fearlessly proclaimed it. At the age of 22, she was imprisoned for her faith. While in prison she continued to care for her infant child and put up with the tortures designed to make her renounce her faith. Perpetua remained steadfast until the end.

St. Felicity was a pregnant slave girl who was imprisoned with St. Perpetua. Little is known about the life of St. Felicity because, unlike Perpetua, she did not keep a diary of her life. After imprisonment and torture, Felicity was condemned to die at the games. Only a few days before her execution, Felicity gave birth to a daughter, who was secretly taken away to be cared for by some of the faithful.

They were baptized in prison. In the Carthage arena, they were attacked by a beast, which did not kill them, so their throats were cut by a gladiator.