Vatican City, 7 March 2013 (VIS) –
There were 152 cardinals present at this morning's fifth General Congregation, which was held from 9:30am until 21:30am. This includes two newly arrived cardinals who took the oath of secrecy: Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland, who is a Cardinal elector and Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, apostolic nuncio emeritus to Czech Republic. The final Cardinal elector expected, Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, is in the process of arriving. (IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE )
Three new Cardinal assistants were chosen by lot to serve on the Particular Congregation, the three-day term of the first Cardinal assistants having expired. The Cardinal assistants chosen were: from the Order of Bishops, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; from the Order of Priests, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and from the Order of Deacons, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
During the Congregation, Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano read the draft of a telegram of condolence to be sent for the death of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, on behalf of the College of Cardinals, which was approved by all. “When a head of state dies,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “the Pope always sends a telegram of condolence. In this case, during the Sede Vacante, that task falls to the College of Cardinals.”
Over the course of the morning, 16 cardinals addressed the gathering. The first three speeches were from those responsible for the finances and the patrimony of the Holy See: Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA); and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State. As called for in No. 171 § 2 of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus”, during the Sede Vacante the Carmelengo has to provide the College of Cardinals with this information regarding the Holy See's patrimonial and economic status. “They were brief but clear reports of each one's area of competence,” the director of the Holy See Press Office said, “bearing in mind that there is always an established date to present the previous year's balance, which is released in July. Today's was a quick way of giving information in broad outlines.”
The other 13 addresses touched upon a variety of topics, always following the order of request and without any specific order of theme. To the topics that have become common in these days—that is, evangelism, the Holy See and its Dicasteries, and the profile of expectations and hopes for the new Pope—were added issues including ecumenism, relations with other Christian churches, and the Church's charitable efforts. It has to be kept in mind that the Congregation is not simply composed of these speeches. There is also a break of a half hour or more when the Cardinal fathers can meet with one another and exchange opinions among themselves.”
Fr. Lombardi also addressed the question of confidentiality and secrecy regarding the Conclave and the General Congregations in light of some news that has been published in these days. “Article 12 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis'”, he clarified, “states that the cardinals must take an oath to observe the provisions made within and to maintain secrecy. Obviously, it is different form the oath made at the Conclave. However, the common denominator is maintaining the reserve and privacy of the institutional atmosphere as a College, not just as private individuals. For example, during the Sede Vacante of 2005, the cardinals decided and voted not to give interviews after the first Congregations.”
Finally, referring to the outfitting of the Sistine Chapel for the Conclave, Fr. Lombardi indicated that preparations for the elevation of the pavement are continuing, the windows have been blacked-out, and the two stoves for producing the “fumata” (smoke signalling the election or non-election of a Pope after each vote) have been installed. Also, the Pope emeritus' coat of arms, which is created with flowers in the Vatican Gardens and visible from the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica, was removed to prepare the flower bed for the new Pope's insignia.
The sixth General Congregation will be held this evening from 5:00pm-9:00pm.
|WHERE CARDINALS WILL STAY DURING CONCLAVE|
Vatican City, 7 March 2013 (VIS) - The Santa Martha House (Domus Sanctae Marthae) is a modern residence building located near St. Peter's Basilica on the site of a former hospice for pilgrims. Since its construction in 1996 it has provided housing for prelates and others having business with the Holy See. The five-story building has 106 suites, 22 single rooms, and one apartment. Its management is entrusted to a director, whose appointment is reserved to the Secretariat of State, and its tasks are defined by statute.
In this period of the Sede Vacante, those persons residing in the “Domus” have been moved in order to make the necessary preparations for housing the Cardinal electors. When the Conclave begins, besides the Cardinal electors, the “Domus” will also house those persons resident within the Vatican who also form part of the Conclave, as established in No. 46 of “Universi Dominici Gregis”.
Juridically speaking, the current manifestation of the Domus Sanctae Marthae is a foundation. It was established in 1996 by a chirograph, that is, a hand-written charter, which was penned by Pope John Paul II himself. Today's building replaces the St. Martha Hospice that was ordered built by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 during the fifth cholera pandemic to care for the sick from the areas around the Vatican. During World War II, the building was used to house refugees, Jews, and ambassadors from countries that had broken diplomatic relations with Italy.
John Paul II's chirograph states that: “in view of the new situation that has arisen, I have resolved to suppress the previous Foundation in order to establish a new Foundation under the title of "Domus Sanctae Marthae” for the purpose of offering hospitality, in the spirit of true priestly fraternity, to the ecclesiastic personnel in service of the Secretariat of State and, as far as possible, in service of the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, as well as the Cardinals and Bishops travelling to Vatican City in order to visit with the Pope or to participate in events and meetings organized by the Holy See. All of this is compatible with the provisions established in the Apostolic Constitution, 'Universi Dominici Gregis', which reserves the building's rooms for the exclusive use of the Cardinal electors during the Conclave for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.”
The other persons, besides the Cardinal electors, who will reside at or enter the “Domus” during the Conclave are those mentioned in “Universi Dominici Gregis” as necessary “to meet the personal and official needs connected with the election process”. These include: the Secretary of the College of Cardinals; the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations; the Masters of Ceremonies; priests from the regular clergy for hearing confessions in the different languages; two medical doctors for possible emergencies; as well as cleaning and cooking staff. All the persons indicated here must receive prior approval from the Cardinal Camerlengo.
During the Conclave the Cardinal electors can walk from the “Domus” to the Sistine Chapel unless they desire to use the small bus that has been placed at their disposition.
CISA NEWS REPORT
KINSHASA, March 6, 2013 (CISA) -Violent clashes between rival factions of the M23 are underway in the region of Rutshuru, 30 km from Goma, capital of North Kivu (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo).
In the aftermath of the framework agreement for the Congo signed in Addis Ababa on 24 February, the M23, the main armed movement that operates in North Kivu, has been split into at least two parts. The first refers to Jean-Marie Runiga, the former political leader of the movement, recently removed from office, and the other to Sultani Makenga, military commander of the rebel group.
Tension between the two factions, reports Fides, exploded after the signing of the Framework Agreement, which aims to stabilize the Great Lakes Region, putting under control the so-called “negative forces” (the various armed groups that have been in the area for a long time).
Faced with the prospect of a new international intervention in North Kivu, Runiga wanted to go on the attack, whereas Makenga seems willing to dialogue with national authorities and international bodies to stabilize the region.
In other news, Congolese Bishops opposed the revision of Article 220 of the Constitution which prohibits changes in the shape of the State. In a Memorandum to the President of the Republic, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) states that, “respect for the constitutional order must be observed by all. This is the premise of national cohesion and unity.” The Bishops pledge to “sensitize the population to understand the importance of this article for the stability of the Country.”
The Bishops also call for serious reforms of the judiciary system, armed forces and police, and an effective fight against corruption, also to ensure the safety in the east of the Country, threatened by the presence of various armed groups.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS
CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
7 Mar 2013
7 Mar 2013
University students are being offered special rates to enable them to take part inThe Great Grace Conference to be held in Sydney in May. There are also great Earlybird discounts of $150 for those who register for the Conference before Friday, 15 March.
Regarded as one of the most significant religious gatherings for intellectual and faith formation to be held in Australia in recent times, The Great Grace: Receiving Vatican II Today will bring together nine of the world's leading theological scholars and experts on the Second Vatican Council as key note speakers. The Conference will feature 30 workshops designed to explore the remarkable teachings of Vatican II and celebrate the relevance of the Council not only now but into the future.
An initiative of the Archdiocese of Sydney in partnership with Australian Catholic University (ACU) as the Conference's major sponsor, The Great Grace is designed to give participants a unique insight into one of the most momentous events of the Church.
Taking its name from Blessed John Paul's description of Vatican II as "The Great Grace for the Church for the 21st Century," the Conference will run from 20-23 May and is not only being held in the Year of Grace but during the 50th anniversary of the start of the Council which began under Pope John XXIII in October 1962 and closed three years later in December 1965 under Pope Paul VI.
"From the vantage point of 50 years it is too easy to the see the Council merely as a gathering of key figures over several years who made some changes, and to regard this today simply as part of the past," says Professor Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor of ACU. "We forget that the great minds of the Council: Ratzinger (who later became Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), Wojtyla (who became Blessed John Paul II), Congar, Rahner, Courtney Murray, de Smedt, Suenans, König and others were the great minds of the mid-Twentieth Century."
Professor Craven says the remarkable legacy of these great minds who attended Vatican II will not be sufficiently mined in a mere 50 years nor possibly even in 100 years.
"The Great Grace Conference is an outstanding opportunity for students, university staff and for people of faith of all ages and walks of life to reflect on the Council and its teachings together," he says and adds that he is particularly pleased young people, none of whom were even born at the time of Vatican II, will have a chance to "be introduced to the remarkable teachings that emerged from the Council and now shape our understanding of the Church and its mission, a mission we all share."
The importance with which The Great Grace Conference is regarded by scholars and Church leaders is underscored by the fact that ACU, the University of Notre Dame, Campion College, the Broken Bay Institute and the Catholic Institute of Sydney are each offering course credits for students who attend the Conference to be put towards their diploma or degree.
Professor Craven is also urging staff at ACU as well as students to attend and is proud that of the nine outstanding keynote speakers two are professors from the University. Professor Anthony Kelly CssR, is a Redemptorist priest, prolific author on Christian life and Professor of Theology at ACU. Professor Anne Hunt is a Doctor of Theology and has written on Vatican II and its vision on the role of the laity in the Church. She is currently Executive Dean of ACU's Faculty of Theology and Philosophy.
Other highly regarded key note speakers who will address the Conference include Canada's Cardinal Marc Ouellet PSS, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome and tipped one of those who may be elected as the next Pope; the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell; and Professor Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.
The rich contribution made by women to the Church was recognised, encouraged and celebrated by Vatican II and Professor Craven is particularly pleased not only about the increasing numbers of women studying at ACU but the high percentage of women holding senior leadership positions at the University.
"Five of our six executive deans are women and half the deputy vice-chancellors are also women - a claim no other University can make," he says and on the eve of International Women's Day tomorrow, 8 March, pays tribute to the influence and contribution of women particularly at ACU.
"Since Vatican II the numbers of lay people studying theology have risen with a significant number of women among them, including our Dean of Theology and Philosophy ACU, Anne Hunt who will be a keynote speaker at the Conference," he says.
To find out more about The Great Grace: Receiving Vatican II Today and to check on the discount deals for Earlybirds and students go to www.thegreatgrace.org.au
shared from ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY
Mark 12: 28 - 34
28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"29Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;30and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'31The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."32And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he;33and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any question.
THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2013
Sts. Perpetua & Felicity
Feast: March 7
From their most valuable genuine acts, quoted by Tertullian, l. de anima, c. 55, and by St. Austin, serm. 280, 283, 294. The first part of these acts, which reaches to the eve of her martyrdom, was written by St. Perpetua. The vision of St. Saturus was added by him. The rest was subjoined by an eye-witness of their death. See Tillemont, t. 3, p. 139. Ceillier, t. 2, p. 213. These acts have been often republished; but are extant, most ample and correct, in Ruinart. They were publicly read in the churches of Africa, as appears from St. Austin, Serm. 180. See them vindicated from the suspicion of Montanism, by Orsi, Vindicae Act. SS. Perpetuae et Felicitatis.
A violent persecution being set on foot by the emperor Severus, in 202, it reached Africa the following year; when, by order of Minutius Timinianus, (or Firminianus,) five catechumens were apprehended at Carthage for the faith: namely, Revocatus, and his fellow-slave Felicitas, Saturninus, and Secundulus, and Vibia Perpetua. Felicitas was seven months gone with child; and Perpetua had an infant at her breast, was of a good family, twenty-two years of age, and married to a person of quality in the city. She had a father, a mother, and two brothers; the third, Dinocrates, died about seven years old. These five martyrs were joined by Saturus, probably brother to Saturninus, and who seems to have been their instructor: he underwent a voluntary imprisonment, because he would not abandon them. The father of St. Perpetua, who was a pagan, and advanced in years, loved her more than all his other children. Her mother was probably a Christian, as was one of her brothers, the other a catechumen. The martyrs were for some days before their commitment kept under a strong guard in a private house: and the account Perpetua gives of their sufferings to the eve of their death, is as follows: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said: 'No.' I replied: 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian.' At that word my father in a rage fell upon me, as if he would have pulled my eyes out, and beat me: but went away in confusion, seeing me invincible: after this we enjoyed a little repose, and in that interval received baptism. The Holy Ghost, on our coming out of the water, inspired me to pray for nothing but patience under corporal pains. A few days after this we were put into prison: I was shocked at the horror and darkness of the place, for till then I knew not what such sort of places were. We suffered much that day, chiefly on account of the great heat caused by the crowd, and the ill-treatment we met with from the soldiers. I was moreover tortured with concern, for that I had not my infant. But the deacons, Tertius and Pomponius, who assisted us, obtained, by money, that we might pass some hours in a more commodious part of the prison to refresh ourselves. My infant being brought to me almost famished, I gave it the breast. I recommended him afterwards carefully to my mother, and encouraged my brother, but was much afflicted to see their concern for me. After a few days my sorrow was changed into comfort, and my prison itself seemed agreeable. One day my brother said to me: 'Sister, I am persuaded that you are a peculiar favorite of Heaven: pray to God to reveal to you whether this imprisonment will end in martyrdom or not, and acquaint me of it.' I, knowing God gave me daily tokens of his goodness, answered, full of confidence, 'I will inform you tomorrow.' I therefore asked that favor of God, and had this vision. I saw a golden ladder which reached from earth to the heavens; but so narrow, that only one could mount it at a time. To the two sides were fastened all sorts of iron instruments, as swords, lances, hooks, and knives; so that if any one went up carelessly he was in great danger of having his flesh torn by those weapons. At the foot of the ladder lay a dragon of an enormous size, who kept guard to turn back and terrify those that endeavored to mount it. The first that went up was Saturus, who was not apprehended with us, but voluntarily surrendered himself afterwards on our account: when he was got to the top of the ladder, he turned towards me and said: 'Perpetua, I wait for you; but take care lest the dragon bite you.' I answered: 'In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.' Then the dragon, as if afraid of me, gently lifted his head from under the ladder, and I, having got upon the first step, set my foot upon his head. Thus I mounted to the top, and there I saw a garden of an immense space, and in the middle of it a tall man sitting down dressed like a shepherd, having white hair. He was milking his sheep, surrounded with many thousands of persons clad in white. He called me by my name, bid me welcome, and gave me some curds made of the milk which he had drawn: I put my hands together and took and ate them; and all that were present said aloud, Amen. The noise awaked me, chewing something very sweet. As soon as I had related to my brother this vision, we both concluded that we should suffer death.
"After some days, a rumor being spread that we were to be examined, my father came from the city to the prison overwhelmed with grief: 'Daughter,' said he, 'have pity on my gray hairs, have compassion on your father, if I yet deserve to be called your father; if I myself have brought you up to this age: if you consider that my extreme love of you, made me always prefer you to all your brothers, make me not a reproach to mankind. Have respect for your mother and your aunt; have compassion on your child that cannot survive you; lay aside this resolution, this obstinacy, lest you ruin us all: for not one of us will dare open his lips any more if any misfortune be fall you.' He took me by the hands at the same time and kissed them; he threw himself at my feet in tears, and called me no longer daughter, but, my lady. I confess, I was pierced with sharp sorrow when I considered that my father was the only person of our family that would not rejoice at my martyrdom. I endeavored to comfort him, saying: 'Father, grieve not; nothing will happen but what pleases God; for we are not at our own disposal.' He then departed very much concerned. The next day, while we were at dinner, a person came all on a sudden to summon us to examination. The report of this was soon spread, and brought together a vast crowd of people into the audience-chamber. We were placed on a sort of scaffold before the judge, who was Hilarian, procurator of the province, the proconsul being lately dead. All who were interrogated before me confessed boldly Jesus Christ. When it came to my turn, my father instantly appeared with my infant. He drew me a little aside, conjuring me in the most tender manner not to be insensible to the misery I should bring on that innocent creature to which I had given life. The president Hilarian joined with my father, and said: 'What! will neither the gray hairs of a father you are going to make miserable, nor the tender innocence of a child, which your death will leave an orphan, move you? Sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperor.' I replied, 'I will not do it.' 'Are you then a Christian?' said Hilarian. I answered: 'Yes, I am.' As my father attempted to draw me from the scaffold, Hilarian commanded him to be beaten off, and he had a blow given him with a stick, which I felt as much as if I had been struck myself; so much was I grieved to see my father thus treated in his old age. Then the judge pronounced our sentence, by which we were all condemned to be exposed to wild beasts. We then joyfully returned to our prison; and as my infant had been used to the breast, I immediately sent Pomponius, the deacon, to demand him of my father, who refused to send him. And God so ordered it that the child no longer required to suck, nor did my milk incommode me." Secundulus, being no more mentioned, seems to have died in prison before this interrogatory. Before Hilarian pronounced sentence, he had caused Saturus, Saturninus, and Revocatus, to be scourged; and Perpetua and Felicitas to be beaten on the face. They were reserved for the shows which were to be exhibited for the soldiers in the camp, on the festival of Geta, who had been made Caesar four years before by his father Severus, when his brother Caracalla was created Augustus. St. Perpetua relates another vision with which she was favored, as follows: "A few days after receiving sentence, when we were all together in prayer, I happened to name Dinocrates, at which I was astonished, because I had not before had him in my thoughts; and I that moment knew that I ought to pray for him. This I began to do with great fervor and sighing before God; and the same night I had the following vision: I saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark place, where there were many others, exceeding hot and thirsty; his face was dirty, his complexion pale, with the ulcer in his face of which he died at seven years of age, and it was for him that I had prayed. There seemed a great distance between him and me, so that it was impossible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a vessel full of water, whose brim was higher than the statue of an infant: he attempted to drink, but though he had water he could not reach it. This mightily grieved me, and I awoke. By this I knew my brother was in pain, but I trusted I could by prayer relieve him: so I began to pray for him, beseeching God with tears, day and night, that he would grant me my request; as I continued to do till we were removed to the damp prison: being destined for a public show on the festival of Caesar Geta. The day we were in the stocks I had this vision: I saw the place, which I had beheld dark before, now luminous; and Dinocrates, with his body very clean and well clad, refreshing himself, and instead of his wound a scar only. I awoke, and I knew he was relieved from his pain.
"Some days after, Pudens, the officer who commanded the guards of the prison, seeing that God favored us with many gifts, had a great esteem of us, and admitted many people to visit us for our mutual comfort. On the day of the public shows my father came to find me out, overwhelmed with sorrow. He tore his beard, he threw himself prostrate on the ground, cursed his years, and said enough to move any creature; and I was ready to die with sorrow to see my father in so deplorable a condition. On the eve of the shows I was favored with the following vision. The deacon Pomponius, methought, knocked very hard at the prison-door, which I opened to him. He was clothed with a white robe, embroidered with innumerable pomegranates of gold. He said to me: 'Perpetua, we wait for you, come along.' He then took me by the hand and led me through very rough places into the middle of the amphitheatre, and said: 'Fear not.' And, leaving me, said again: 'I will be with you in a moment, and bear a part with you in your pains.' I was wondering the beasts were not let out against us, when there appeared a very ill-favored Egyptian, who came to encounter me with others. But another beautiful troop of young men declared for me, and anointed me with oil for the combat. Then appeared a man of prodigious stature, in rich apparel, having a wand in his hand like the masters of the gladiators, and a green bough on which hung golden apples. Having ordered silence, he said that the bough should be my prize, if I vanquished the Egyptian: but that if he conquered me, he should kill me with a sword. After a long and obstinate engagement, I threw him on his face, and trod upon his head. The people applauded my victory with loud acclamations. I then approached the master of the amphitheatre, who gave me the bough with a kiss, and said: 'Peace be with you, my daughter.' After this I awoke, and found that I was not so much to combat with wild beasts as with the devils." Here ends the relation of St. Perpetua.
St. Saturus had also a vision which he wrote himself. He and his companions were conducted by a bright angel into a most delightful garden, in which they met some holy martyrs lately dead, namely, Jocundus, Saturninus, and Artaxius, who had been burned alive for the faith, and Quintus, who died in prison. They inquired after other martyrs of their acquaintance, say the acts, and were conducted into a most stately place, shining like the sun: and in it saw the king of this most glorious place surrounded by his happy subjects, and heard a voice composed of many, which continually cried: "Holy, holy, holy." Saturus, turning to Perpetua, said: "You have here what you desired." She replied: "God be praised, I have more joy here than ever I had in the flesh." He adds, Going out of the garden they found before the gate, on the right hand, their bishop of Carthage, Optatus, and on the left, Aspasius, priest of the same church, both of them alone and sorrowful. They fell at the martyr's feet, and begged they would reconcile them together, for a dissension had happened between them. The martyrs embraced them, saving: "Are not you our bishop, and you a priest of our Lord? It is our duly to prostrate ourselves before you." Perpetua was discoursing with them; but certain angels came and drove hence Optatus and Aspasius; and bade them not to disturb the martyrs, but be reconciled to each other. The bishop Optatus was also charged to heal the divisions that reigned among several of his church. The angels, after these reprimands, seemed ready to shut the gates of the garden. "Here," says he, "we saw many of our brethren and martyrs likewise. We were fed with an ineffable odor, which delighted and satisfied us." Such was the vision of Saturus. The rest of the acts were added by an eye-witness. God had called to himself Secondulus in prison. Felicitas was eight months gone with child, and as the day of the shows approached, she was inconsolable lest she should not be brought to bed before it came; fearing that her martyrdom would be deferred on that account, because women with child were not allowed to be executed before they were delivered: the rest also were sensibly afflicted on their part to leave her alone in the road to their common hope. Wherefore they unanimously joined in prayer to obtain of God that she might be delivered against the shows. Scarce had they finished their prayer, when Felicitas found herself in labor. She cried out under the violence of her pain: one of the guards asked her, if she could not bear the throes of childbirth without crying out, what she would do when exposed to the wild beasts. She answered: "It is I that suffer what I now suffer; but then there will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for him." She was then delivered of a daughter, which a certain Christian woman took care of, and brought up as her own child. The tribune, who had the holy martyrs in custody, being informed by some persons of little credit, that the Christians would free themselves out of prison by some magic enchantments, used them the more cruelly on that account, and forbade any to see them. Thereupon Perpetua said to him: "Why do you not afford us some relief, since we are condemned by Caesar, and destined to combat at his festival? Will it not be to your honor that we appear well fed?" At this the tribune trembled and blushed, and ordered them to be used with more humanity, and their friends to be admitted to see them. Pudens, the keeper of the prison, being already converted, secretly did them all the good offices in his power. The day before they suffered they gave them, according to custom, their last meal, which was called a free supper' and they ate in public. But the martyrs did their utmost to change it into an Agape, or Love-feast. Their chamber was full of people, whom they talked to with their usual resolution, threatening them with the judgments of God, and extolling the happiness of their own sufferings. Saturus smiling at the curiosity of those that came to see them, said to them, "Will not tomorrow suffice to satisfy your inhuman curiosity in our regard? However you may seem now to pity us, tomorrow you will clap your hands at our death, and applaud our murderers. But observe well our faces, that you may know them again at that terrible day when all men shall be judged." They spoke with such courage and intrepidity, as astonished the infidels, and occasioned the conversion of several among them.
The day of their triumph being come, they went out of the prison to go to the amphitheatre. Joy sparkled in their eyes, and appeared in all their gestures and words. Perpetua walked with a composed countenance and easy pace, as a woman cherished by Jesus Christ, with her eyes modestly cast down: Felicitas went with her, following the men, not able to contain her joy. When they came to the gate of the amphitheatre the guards would have given them, according to custom, the superstitious habits with which they adorned such as appeared at these sights. For the men, a red mantle, which was the habit of the priests of Saturn: for the women, a little fillet round the head, by which the priestesses of Ceres were known. The martyrs rejected those idolatrous ceremonies; and, by the mouth of Perpetua, said, they came thither of their own accord on the promise made them that they should not be forced to any thing contrary to their religion. The tribune then consented that they might appear in the amphitheatre habited as they were. Perpetua sung, as being already victorious; Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus threatened the people that beheld them with the judgments of God: and as they passed over against the balcony of Hilarian, they said to him; "You judge us in this world, but God will judge you In the next." The people, enraged at their boldness, begged they might be scourged, which was granted. They accordingly passed before the Venatores, or hunters, each of whom gave them a lash. They rejoiced exceedingly in being thought worthy to resemble our Saviour in his sufferings. God granted to each of them the death they desired; for when they were discoursing together about what kind of martyrdom would be agreeable to each, Saturninus declared that he would choose to be exposed to beasts of several sorts in order to the aggravation of his sufferings. Accordingly he and Revocatus, after having been attacked by a leopard, were also assaulted by a bear. Saturus dreaded nothing so much as a bear, and therefore hoped a leopard would dispatch him at once with his teeth. He was then exposed to a wild boar, hut the beast turned upon his keeper, who received such a wound from him that he died in a few days after, and Saturus was only dragged along by him. Then they tied the martyr to the bridge near a bear, but that beast came not out of his lodge, so that Saturus, being sound and not hurt, was called upon for a second encounter. This gave him an opportunity of speaking to Pudens, the jailer that had been converted. The martyr encouraged him to constancy in the faith, and said to him: "You see I have not yet been hurt by any beast, as I desired and foretold; believe then steadfastly in Christ; I am going where you will see a leopard with one bite take away my life." It happened so, for a leopard being let out upon him, covered him all over with blood, whereupon the people jeering, cried out, "He is well baptized." The martyr said to Pudens, "Go, remember my faith, and let our sufferings rather strengthen than trouble you. Give me the ring you have on your finger." Saturus, having dipped it in his wound, gave it him back to keep as a pledge to animate him to a constancy in his faith, and fell down dead soon after. Thus he went first to glory to wait for Perpetua, according to her vision. Some with Mabillon,1 think this Prudens is the martyr honored in Africa, on the 29th of April.In the meantime, Perpetua and Felicitas had been exposed to a wild cow; Perpetua was first attacked, and the cow having tossed her up, she fell on her back. Then putting herself in a sitting posture, and perceiving her clothes were torn, she gathered them about her in the best manner she could, to cover herself, thinking more of decency than her sufferings. Getting up, not to seem disconsolate, she tied up her hair, which was fallen loose, and perceiving Felicitas on the ground much hurt by a toss of the cow, she helped her to rise. They stood together, expecting another assault from the beasts, but the people crying out that it was enough, they were led to the gate Sanevivaria, where those that were not killed by the beasts were dispatched at the end of the shows by the confectores. Perpetua was here received by Rusticus, a catechumen, who attended her. This admirable woman seemed just returning to herself out of a long ecstasy, and asked when she was to fight the wild cow. Being told what had passed, she could not believe it till she saw on her body and clothes the marks of what she had suffered, and knew the catechumen. With regard to this circumstance of her acts, St. Austin cries out, "Where was she when assaulted and torn by so furious a wild beast, without feeling her wounds, and when, after that furious combat, she asked when it would begin? What did she, not to see what all the world saw? What did she enjoy who did not feel such pain. By what love, by what vision, by what potion was she so transported out of herself, and as it were divinely inebriated, to seem without feeling in a mortal body?" She called for her brother, and said to him and Rusticus, "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scandalized at our sufferings." All the martyrs were now brought to the place of their butchery. But the people, not yet satisfied with beholding blood, cried out to have them brought into the middle of the amphitheatre, that they might have the pleasure of seeing them receive the last blow. Upon this, some of the martyrs rose up, and having given one another the kiss of peace, went of their own accord into the middle of the arena; others were dispatched without speaking, or stirring out of the place they were in. St. Perpetua fell into the hands of a very timorous and unskillful apprentice of the gladiators, who, with a trembling hand, gave her many slight wounds, which made her languish a long time. Thus, says St. Austin, did two women, amidst fierce beasts and the swords of gladiators, vanquish the devil and all his fury. 'the day of their martyrdom was the 7th of March, as it is marked in the most ancient martyrologies, and in the Roman calendar as old as the year 354, published by Bucherius St. Prosper says they suffered at Carthage, which agrees with all the circumstances. Their bodies were in the great church of Carthage, in the fifth age, as St. Victor2 informs us. Saint Austin says, their festival drew yearly more to honor their memory in their church, than curiosity had done to their martyrdom, They are mentioned in the canon of the Mass