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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 202.

The wealthy widow Perpetua, of Carthage, not only became a Christian but she also opened her home to Christian worship. When this was discovered by the authorities, she and several of her friends were imprisoned. Perpetua's small child was cruelly taken from her. One of her prison companions, Felicitas, a slave girl, gave birth to a baby while in prison. The baby was taken from her, also. However, to the great relief of all the incarcerated companions, the baby was secretly adopted by Christian parents.

The experiences of the companions in prison, including the dreams and visions of Perpetua, were recorded and remain one of our most valuable documents of early Christianity. The companions were sentenced to be thrown to wild beasts in the arena. Their last act together was to exchange the kiss of peace. They went joyfully and triumphantly to their fate, Perpetua calmly tidying her veil in the face of the hideous onslaught.

Almighty and everlasting God, with whom your meek ones go forth as the mighty: Grant us so to cherish the memory of your blessed martyrs Perpetua and her companions, that we may share their pure and steadfast faith in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God the King of saints, you strengthened your servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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