Perpetua, a noblewoman, and Felicity, a slave, were imprisoned and killed on March 7, 203 in Carthage. Carthage is a magnificent ancient city in Tunisia, part of Africa.
During Perpetua’s imprisonment, she kept a diary and accounts that provided a vivid picture of her experiences during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Severus. Her father tried to persuade her to denounce her belief.
While we were still under arrest (she said) my father out of love for me was trying to persuade me and shake my resolution. ‘Father,’ said I, ‘do you see this vase here, for example, or water pot or whatever?’
‘Yes, I do’, said he.
And I told him: ‘Could it be called by any other name than what it is?’
And he said: ‘No.’
‘Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.’
Source: PBS: Perpetua
The diary of Perpetua is one of history’s factual account of deep faith during her imprisonment. It also contains her visions. Even in injustice, she was given justice by dying with dignity. Before her death, she was baptized as a Christian. Being Christians during the Roman era were the enemies, as a consequence, they were disposed of.
Today, we celebrate the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity. We consider them not as heroes but Saints.