St. Peregrine Laziosi
Perpetua was a young, well-educated married noble woman who converted to Christianity and was killed for her faith. Perpetua was catechumen at the time of her arrest in 203. Arrested with her were other catechumens, Felicity a pregnant slavewoman, Revocatus, Saturninus, and Secundulus. She has left us an account of her time in prison, leading up to her execution. Perpetua was nursing her infant son and suffered the distress of being separated from him when she was arrested. She writes of her distress in her account and tells how relieved she was when one of the deacons bribed the guards in order for her to have the baby with her in prison. Despite the pleas of her father, Perpetua remained firm in her determination to die rather than give up her faith. The group was sentenced to be exposed to wild beasts at the public games. Felicity, too, remained firm in her intention to die for her faith; she was relieved when she gave birth before the execution date, so that she could go into the arena with the others. Perpetua and Felicity survived the onslaught of bulls and were then put to death by the sword. The account of their execution was written by an unknown witness. It is likely that this writer was Tertullian, an ancient Christian writer.