When we think of the lives of the Saints, we are tempted think of them as stories - maybe good stories - but really more fictitious, even if they have a good lesson to teach. Especially the saints of the early Church. Saints Perpetua and Felicity, third century martyrs, shatter that narrative. Because we have the diary of St. Perpetua, we can see through her words what it was like to be a prisoner for her faith during the times of Roman persecution.
Both Perpetua and Felicity were martyrs of the early Church who died as a result of Roman persecution for their faith in Christ. Perpetua, who was an educated noblewoman and young mother, kept a diary, which you can read today. The account of her arrest and imprisonment makes who she was and what she experienced all the more real. "A few days later we were lodged in the prison; and I was terrified, as I had never before been in such a dark hole. What a difficult time it was! With the crowd the heat was stifling; then there was the extortion of the soldiers; and to crown all, I was tortured with worry for my baby there." This was a real woman who experienced torture and death for her Christian faith.
Oftentimes we take for granted our ability to practice our faith. However, there have been times of great persecution. St. Perpetua spoke of Roman persecution, but many have suffered for their religious beliefs throughout history: the French Revolution, the "Cristero War" in Mexico, and the many who died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Even today, religious persecution can be seen in countries throughout the world (https://www.state.gov/international-religious-freedom-reports/). Be thankful for your ability to worship Our Lord. Pray for the strength to stand up for what you believe, especially in the face of persecution. Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us.
You can read more about Saints Perpetua and Felicity here: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/saint-who-perpetua-and-felicity
And you can read St. Perpetua's Diary here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/perpetua.html
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