Felicitas (2)

Felicitas an African slave who suffered martyrdom at Carthage along with Perpetua (q.v.), in the time of Severus, A.D. 202. They are both said by 13asnage to have been Montanists, but cardinal Orsi seems to have disproved this in his Dissert. Apol. pro SS. Perpetua et Felicitate. They were arrested at Carthage while still catechumens, and were baptized in prisons. All efforts were tried in vain to induce them to abandon their faith; they were condemned to be thrown to the wild beasts at a festival in honor of the anniversary of Geta's nomination (Annales Caesaris). After this judgment they were- remanded to prison to await the fatal day. For the account of Perpetua, SEE PERPETUA. "As to Felicitas, on her return to the dungeon she was seized with the pains of labor. The jailer said to her, 'If thy present sufferings are so great, what wilt thou do when thou art thrown to the wild beasts? This thou didst not consider when thou refusedst to sacrifice. She answered, ' I now suffer myself all that I suffer; but then there will be another who shall suffer for me, because I also will suffer for him. A custom which had come down from the times of human sacrifices, under the bloody Baal-worship of the Carthaginians, still prevailed of dressing those criminals who were condemned to die by wild beasts in priestly raiment. It was therefore proposed, in the present case, that the men should be clothed; as the priests of Saturn, and the women as the priestesses of Ceres. Nobly did their free, Christian spirit protest against such a proceeding. We have come here, said they, of our own will, that we may not suffer our freedom to be taken from us. We have given up our lives that we may not be forced to such abominations. The pagans themselves acknowledged the justice of their demand, and yielded. After they had been torn by the wild beasts, and were about to receive thee merciful stroke which was to end their sufferings, they took leave of each other for the last time with the mutual kiss of Christian love." Felicitas is commemorated in the Church of Rome March 7.-Neander, Ch. Hist. Torrey. i, 123; Butler, Lives of Saints, March 7.

 
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