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Way of the Fathers with Mike Aquilina

May 13, 2020

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.


Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (Perpetua's Diary)

The Story of Saint Perpetua (animated feature)

The Passion of Saint Perpetua (documentary)

Perpetua’s Song

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