March is Women’s History Month or should I say Women’s Her-story Month. The Tuesday and Friday posts this month will feature women who lead lives that could serve as models for us in our Christian walk. It was difficult to narrow the list for the few dates in March but I did try to find some women you may not know very well and women writers. Enjoy!
This coming Sunday many church we commemorate Perpetua and Felicity
Who? That was my reaction. I didn’t know anything about these two women!
No saints were more honored in the early Christian era than Perpetua and Felicity. The two women were arrested and imprisoned Carthage in 203 A.D. Perpetua was 22-year-old noblewoman with a son a few months old; Felicity a slave with a child not yet born. Their crime was defying Emperor’s prohibition of conversions to Christianity.
They were taken to prison where Felicity gave birth. Fellow Christians adopted her child.
At their trail, they bravely announced their belief in Christ – a certain death sentence.
Much of what we know about this story comes from a unique source – The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity – a diary and first hand account of early martyrs, Perpetua herself wrote the middle chapter about her experience in prison and her impending martyrdom. This account represents one of the earliest known pieces of Christian literature written by a woman.
In one section Perpetua tells about her visions that give her hope as she leaves her infant son and his future to God. Imagine this young woman of considerable wealth and education, not allowing these bleak circumstances to defeat her. The prospect of torture and death could not break her spirit. Perpetua refused repeated opportunities to deny she was a Christian and so hand in hand Perpetua and Felicity bravely faced martyrdom together. They were charged by wild animals and then beheaded. Observers noted she went joyfully as though on the way to heaven. The story is told that their faith led prison guards and others watching in the arena to Christ.
I have often wondered if I had the courage to die for my faith. These two women went against the norm, stood together facing death, and left their families including their children, for their belief. They never denied Christ and kept their eyes and hearts on heaven. I am sure God honored them.
When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’” Perpetua