Today is the feast of the holy blissful martyrs Perpetua and Felicty and their companions in North Africa. They have been favorite saints of mine since childhood. So sad that the place where they gave their blood for Christ was overrun by the arian Vandals. Then, after the Vandals were converted, they were then in turn conquered by the impious Mohammedan pagans. There were over four hundred Latin Rite dioceses in North Africa before the conquest. Now all of them are titular dioceses in the Roman Church in partibus infidelium(1).
Felicity was Perpetua's slave, but she was also her companion both in life and death. We rightly reject any form of human slavery, but for them, it was unquestionably normal. As the icon shows, however, they are also united on a more personal level than that of mistress to slave. The icon also shows them as true Africans. Something that those of us white folks so often forget when we think of the saints from anywhere.
Collect: Father, your love gave the saints Perpetua and Felicity courage to suffer a cruel martyrdom. By their prayers, help us to grow in love of you. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(1) In the lands of the infidels.
Dieu le Roy!