Icon Profile: Saints Perpetua and Felicity

In March 2012, Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry received a donation of two dozen icon paintings done by Robert Lentz, Andrew Williams and William Hart McNichols. These beautiful icons, now located in the Bonaventure House chapel, depict marginalized saints and martyrs. 

Saints Perpetua and Felicity

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, by Robert Lentz

From Christ in the Margins by Robert Lentz and Edwina Gateley

“Prisons have always broken those they have held. From the time of the Gospels, however, when Christ identified himself with those in prison, to our day of gulags and concentration camps, the Divine Mystery has often exploded into our world from these places at the margin.

Perpetua was a noble North African woman with an infant son, She was arrested with her pregnant slave Felicity because the two were Christians. Cutting through pious verbiage, we can say that the two young mothers were thrown into a filthy jail as prisoners of conscience. Perpetua’s rich father tried to get her to compromise with the authorites, but her husband seems to have abandoned her completely in order to save his career. No one cared what happened to Felicity, except for Perpetua, whom prison was turning from misterss into friend.

The account of their martyrdom describes the misery they endured in prison, the anglish they felt when their children were taken from them, and the torture with wild animals that led to their deaths. Friendship and their deeply help beliefs were all that sustained them in that third-century detention center.”

-Robert Lents, “Saints Perpetua and Felicity,” from Christ in the Margins



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