Ep. 15—Perpetua: A Rare Female Voice from Antiquity
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Perpetua of Carthage is almost unique in the literature of her time. She is a woman and a writer. Over the course of centuries, traditional Greco-Roman culture produced very few female writers. Nor did ancient literature bother much with the particular concerns of women. So Perpetua stands out as a witness to women’s experience in the third century—and the changed status of women in the Church. A Christian martyr, she kept a diary while in jail. The diary records ordinary details, such as visits from family members and the conditions of the prison. But it also tells of extraordinary visions. Perpetua speaks of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and weaning. In prison she emerges as a charismatic leader of her fellow Christians. Her diary is an extraordinary record, and it is a beautiful meditation on Christian life.
Dramatized audio reading of the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/tertullian-martyrdom-perpetua-and-felicity
Read the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (Perpetua’s Diary) https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=1678
The Story of Saint Perpetua (animated feature)
The Passion of Saint Perpetua (documentary)
More works by the Fathers
Mike Aquilina’s website
Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of http://www.ccwatershed.org.
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