A Lenten reflection on endurance


The lives of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

The season of Lent is a time of prayer, sacrifice and reflection. We try to set aside worldly goods for a time in remembrance of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. What better way to reflect on the significance of Lent than to study the lives of two saints known for their endurance in the face of danger and persecution?

On March 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, whose names can be heard during the first Eucharistic prayer at Mass. They lived in a tumultuous yet vibrant time in Church history. The Church was newly established and spreading like wildfire, but many Christians faced persecution and death, especially from the Roman empire. Perpetua and Felicity were martyred during the third century A.D. in Africa under Emperor Severus. 

Perpetua grew up in a wealthy family in Carthage, but felt the call to Christianity. Her mother and brother were Christians, but her father did not approve of her calling, particularly due to the dangers of being a Christian in the Roman Empire. She was also a new mother, so her father desired to protect her from persecution.

Despite his pleas, Perpetua did not relent. In her diary, she wrote: “We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: ‘Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?’ He said: ‘No.’ I replied: ‘Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say a Christian.’”

Soon after she was baptized, she was forced into prison at Carthage. There, she met Felicity, a slave woman who was eight months pregnant. Felicity was afraid that she would be killed before she gave birth to her child, but she miraculously gave birth to a healthy baby just before the day of her martyrdom.

Both women were brutally martyred along with three other Christians, facing wild animals and gladiators. They were welcomed to Heaven, and are now celebrated as the patron saints of mothers, expectant mothers, widows, and ranchers.

Each of us has to face some level of trials in our lives. This week, most of us at UD are trying to get through midterms, comps and theses. However, by offering up our moments of difficulty, we can draw closer to Christ. The lives of saints such as Perpetua and Felicity provide great inspiration for us to endure all of our trials, both large and small. 

Novena to Sts. Perpetua and Felicity:

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, you lived in a pagan society but chose to become Christians and to follow Christ. This choice to follow Christ came at a great cost, because the Christian faith was not allowed in your society.

Despite this cost, you did not waver in your faith. Imprisonment, mockery, and threats did nothing to keep you from serving Christ. You remained faithful to Christ and His Church through great sufferings, until you finally gave up your life for Him.

Pray that I may also choose to be as steadfast in my own faith against the influences of the world as you were, no matter what it may cost me.

Please also pray for (mention your intention here).

Lord God, grant that I may love and serve You as faithfully as Your martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity, so that I may someday join them to praise You in Heaven.



  1. Quite simple, inspiring and beautiful! Thank you for including this especially during this season of Lent.


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