Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity. Feast Day March 7th. Perpetua and Felicity were Christian martyrs of the third century. Vibia Perpetua was a well educated married noble woman said to have been 22 years of age when she was martyred for her beliefs . At the time of her incarceration she was nursing a small infant .Perpetua was imprisoned during the reign of the Emperor Septimus Severus for refusing to denounce her Christian faith with several other Christians including Felicity a slave who was pregnant . Both Perpetua and Felicity were believed to be Catechumens at the time of their imprisonment and both were baptised before their execution. These Saints were martyred at the military games in celebration of the Emperor’s birthday and thrown in to the arena with the Lions and wild beasts. However the crowd greatly pitied these two women ,so eventually they were taken out of the arena and killed by the power of the sword. Perpetua during her stay in prison began to receive messages from God and was gifted with the “Lords Speech”. Her father desperately urged her to give up her faith for the sake of her life but she replied stating that she could not call herself any other name but a Christian . Perpetua’s last words were ,”Stand fast in the faith and love one another”. Both these women are Patron saints of mothers and expectant mothers.
Saint John of God. Feast Day . March 8th. St John was born Joao Duarte Cidade in a small district of Evora in Portugal to a devout religious family in 1495. When he was only 8 years old he felt a calling from God and ran away from home to seek a vocation. Finding himself an orphan in the streets of Oropesa in Toledo in Spain he was kindly taken in and cared for by an affluent land owner. Here John spent the majority of his time tending to the farmers sheep as a shepherd but eventually he joined a company of foot soldiers fighting for the Roman emperor Charles V. When he completed his military duties he returned to his pastoral life in Oropesa for 4 years but was compelled to join the army again where he served in different parts of Europe for 18 years. Joao felt a deep desire to see Africa and set out for the Portuguese territory of Ceuta . Feeling a great need to reconnect with his faith he entered a Franciscan friary, where he was encouraged to return to Spain. Back in Andulucia he experienced a vision of the infant Jesus who bestowed upon him the name, ” John of God” at the same time directing him to go to Granada. Once in Granada after hearing St John of Avilla preach he had a nervous breakdown and began repenting fervently for his former life. St John of Avilla encouraged him to serve God by caring for the poor and sick and became his religious advisor. Eventually John set up a house to care for the sick and needy and established a religious foundation known as ,” The Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God”. This foundation quickly became established throughout Europe and its influence spread attracting many brothers. John died in Granada in 1550 and was canonised by Pope Alexander V111 in 1690. He is the Patron Saint of hospitals , book sellers and the mentally afflicted.
Saint Serafina. Feast Day . March 12th. Serafina del Ciardi ,was born in to a very poor family in 1238 in San Gimignano in Italy. Her family had originated from a noble line that had lost all their money and her father died when she was only very young. She spent most of her time indoors learning how to sew and spin praying to Jesus. After her fathers death she was struck with a strange and paralysing illness that left her disfiguered and unable to move . Fina’s only consolation was a Crucifix , she herself realised that she was called to imitate the suffering of Christ and to offer it up for the sake of others. This little Saint never complained embracing her afflictions quietly. Tradition states that a beautiful serenity and inner quality shone from her face. When Finas mother died she was left totally alone her only visitor was a girl called Beldia who brought her food.Fina had read about St Gregory the Great and his intense physical suffering and therefore he became her special saint. Eight days before her death St Gregory appeared to her in a vision and said , ” My dear child on my feast day I will give you rest”. On March 12th 1253 Fina passed from this earth just as Gregory told her. The whole city attended her funeral and from that moment everyone began to pray to her. Where she was burried neighbours found white viloets blossoming in abundance, these viloets that blossom every March in San Gimignano are referred to as St Fina’s Flowers. Many miracles have been obtained through her intercession, she is the Patron saint of physically challenged people and spinners.