Perpetua’s Heroic Christian Identity

In examining Perpetua’s identity, we learn that she was a newly married woman of good family and upbringing, a nursing mother, a daughter, a Roman citizen, and one of three children. We learn that she was 22 years old and a catechumen, not even yet baptized into the faith when she was arrested, yet the identity she most valued was the Christian identity. When her father implored her to disavow her Christian faith, she said, “do you see this vase here…Could it be called by any other name than what it is?” When her father replied “no,” she responded, “well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.”

Thus her identity as a Christian was superior to her identity as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a Roman citizen, and a woman. Perpetua’s faithful identity as a Christian was evident through her captivity unto death where she endured pain to the greatest degree. Her and her fellow martyr’s example of “perseverance and nobility of soul” reflected the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Their witness to Christ, then and even today, inspires many to become Christian.

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