In 203 AD during the persecution in the days of emperor Sawiros, Minosious Timinianous, the proconsul of Africa, arrested five catechumens. Among them was Vivia Perpetua who was twenty-two years old. She was the wife of a rich man having a baby and she was the daughter of a noble man. A man called Saturus accompanied them. He seemed to be their teacher and spiritual father. He chose to be imprisoned with them to encourage them and share with them their pains. Perpetua’s husband was a Christian. He accepted the faith secretly. When persecution took place he escaped. The five were imprisoned in a house. Perpetua’s father came doing his best to convince his daughter to return to worshiping the idles. However, she told him that she would not renounce Christ under any condition. Therefore, he started beating her and insulting her then he left. At that time, the arrested catechumens were baptized. Few days later, Perpetua, along with her companions, were taken to the prison. Its darkness and bad smell terrified her. Besides, the soldiers were cruel and she was deprived of her baby. On the first day, as she suffered much pain, two blessed deacons called Tertius and Pomponius gave money to the soldiers to allow them to have some rest. She was also allowed to breastfeed her baby who became weak because of hunger. Perpetua asked her brother to take care of the baby and not to worry about her. Afterwards, she was allowed to have her baby with her; thus, she rejoiced. God changed the prison into a palace to the extent that she felt that she never had rest but in prison. Her brother visited her and told her that she was living in glory and that she was dear to God for bearing pains for His sake. He asked her to pray to God to reveal to her whether this will end by martyr them or not. With trust she asked him to come the following day to tell him what the Lord would reveal to her.
As she prayed, she saw in a vision a golden narrow ladder on which only one person could go up. On the sides of the ladder all kinds of knives and swords were fixed. He whoever goes up carelessly without looking upwards will be injured and perish. At the foot of the ladder, there was a huge dragon willing to devour anyone who would go up. Saturus went up first till he reached the top of the ladder. Then he looked to her saying, “Perpetua, I’m waiting for you, but be careful of the dragon lest it should kill you.”
“In the name of Jesus Christ it won’t harm me,” the Saint replied.
She advanced towards the ladder to find the dragon lifting up its head but in fear. She put one of her legs on the golden ladder and with the other she treaded on the dragon’s head. She went up to find herself in a large garden. In the middle of the garden sat a very great man. His hair was white. He put on a shepherd’s clothes milking the flock and surrounded with thousands of people in white.
This man lifted up His head and looked to her saying, “Welcome Daughter.”
He called her and gave her cheese made of the milk. She took it and ate it; and all those who surrounded Him said, “Amen.”
Perpetua woke up to find herself as if eating delicious food. She told her brother what she saw. Thus they knew that this would end by martyrdom.
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