Good Talk about Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas!

Their feastday is March 7, which was on Saturday! I missed posting about it, but better late than never!

Here’s a really good talk about them.

It’s part one of a two-part presentation about the female saints who are named in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I,* the oldest and most default Mass prayer of the Latin Rite, yet one which is rarely said by priests these days). The first half is background material and stuff about various martyrs (including St. Cecilia), but the last half is St. Perpetua’s prison journal.

We know that the early Christians used to hear it read in public, so it’s very effective and authentic to have the deacon read it to the people at the talk and to you listening at home. Needless to say, there’s not much written by women that has survived the Greco-Roman world, so it’s interesting to see into the head of one of those brave and noble Roman matrons, especially as transferred into the energy and liveliness of a newly baptized Christian heading for martyrdom. The comments at the end do a really good job of explaining the Scriptural symbolism that had become second nature to St. Perpetua.

(The second talk is mostly about Ss. Agnes and Agatha, who were both martyred in late winter. It includes a new English translation of an account in Greek, so that’s pretty interesting.)

There’s YouTube video. There’s an mp3 you can stream or download. There are also two pdf handouts to download. So there’s plenty of material.

* If you follow the link, there are two lists of saints included, whom we call upon to pray with us.  The first list comes before the actual Consecration. It starts with Mary and Joseph and the Apostles, and then mentions some notable male Roman martyrs. (Because this was the Eucharistic prayer said in Rome. Back in the day, other cities asked for the prayers of their own martyrs.) The rest of the ladies (besides Mary) are in the second list of apostles and martyrs, in the second half that falls after the Consecration. You will notice that the woman named first is Felicitas, who was both a slave, and a woman who wasn’t from Rome or of Roman kinfolk. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the last shall be first.


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