A friend of mine told me the story of how she picked her confirmation name: Perpetua. She had heard the story of the great martyr, whose feast we celebrate today, and she wanted to emulate the heroism, but she also thought the name was unique, it stood out, set her apart: so she took it. She was a little embarrassed later. However in a conversation I managed to reassure her that it was a venerable name because it was the name of a venerable woman and she should be proud to call herself Perpetua.
What great women we celebrate today: St Felicity and St Perpetua. No one could accuse them of being shrinking violets, oppressed Christian women: they were strong, holy women: the finest example both of Christianity and womanhood. In them we see what St John Paul called the "feminine genius".
St Perpetua's last words will certainly resonate with us in these times: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another".