On this occasion, it seems fitting to read The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, partly written by Perpetua herself. The rest was written by Saturus, who instructed and advised Perpetua in the faith, and an eye witness.
This document recounts some of Perpetua’s martyrdom and what lead to it. She talks about her time spent in prison after being arrested with other catechumens, about her newborn baby from whom she was then separated, about the deacons who minister to her, about her pregnant slave Felicity who was arrested with her, etc.
All along, her father begged her to deny the faith so she might be released. She refused.
She writes of visions she expierenced while in prison which made her believe she could do only one thing: “And I awoke; and I understood that I should fight, not with beasts but against the devil; but I knew that mine was the victory.”
I love this line: “And I began to go with glory to the gate called the Gate of Life.”
Interestingly, the gate of life for Perpetua meant her physical death. But it was the gate to eternal life that she recognized and flocked towards.
She and Felicity were baptized not long before their martyrdoms.
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity: Pray for us!