Sts. Perpetua and Felicity were Christian martyrs from the early persecution of the Church in Africa by the Emperor Severus.

In the year 203, Vivia Perpetua, a young mother and well-educated noblewoman, followed the path of her own mother and became a Christian.

Her pagan father was frantic and tried to talk her out of her decision.

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.”

Perpetua was arrested with four other Christian converts, Saturninus and Secundulus and two slaves, Revocatus and an 8-month pregnant, Felicity.

The prison was dark, overcrowded and hot. But during all this, Perpetua’s most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.

Two deacons paid the guards to place the martyrs in a better part of the prison and there, Perpetua’s mother and brother brought her baby.

While Perpetua prayed, she was shown a golden ladder, reaching up to heaven. On the sides of the ladder were swords, lances, hooks, and daggers. At the bottom of the ladder laid a large dragon.

Perpetua traveled up the ladder and saw a beautiful vast garden with a tall man dressed like a shepherd and milking sheep.

Perpetua woke from her dream with a sweet taste in her mouth and understood they must suffer.

Meanwhile, Felicity was afraid she would not give birth before the day of their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her.

However, two days before the execution, she went into labor and her baby was adopted by one of the Christian women of Carthage.

On the day of their execution, Perpetua and Felicity were to face a rabid cow. After they were attacked, the crowd cried out they had enough.

They stood side by side and were killed by sword.

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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