SS. Perpetua and Felicitas, Martyrs
St. Perpetua had just become a mother and St. Felicitas was on the point of becoming one, when they were arrested at Carthage during the persecution of Severus. When thrown into prison they united their prayers and tears, fearing to escape martyrdom. "God heard them" (Epistle). When the judge told them that they were condemned to the wild beasts, they were transported with joy, like the merchant of the Gospel, for at that price they would purchase heaven. They were exposed in the amphitheatre to the fury of a fierce cow and killed by the sword towards 203.
Let us undergo in body and in spirit the martyrdom of penance, so as to obtain the "perpetual felicity" which the names of these two saints suggest, as St. Augustine ingeniously remarks. Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass (Second list).
Me exspectaverunt peccatores, ut perderent me: testimonia tua, Domine, intellexi: omnis consummationis vidi finem: latum mandatum tuum nimis. * Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: The commandment is exceeding broad. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:95-96,1 from the Introit of Mass)
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, to reverence with unceasing devotion the victories of Thy holy martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas; that those whom we cannot fittingly celebrate, we may at least approach with lowly homage.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06029a.htm