In 2017, a spokesperson for the Vatican came forward saying that some saints were “probably gay.” However, this revelation has been explored by other scholars for many years. St. Perpetua and St. Felicity are two prominent women who are known as the patron saints of Same-Sex Couples.
Perpetua a 22 year old noblewoman and Felicity was her slave. They both chose to become Christians even though it was against their families Pagan beliefs. In 203 CE both women were prosecuted for their beliefs. At the time Perpetua was a nursing mother and Felicity was 8 months pregnant. Looking back on Perpetua’s diary from that time, there were many instances where both of them rejected the normal roles for women for the time and attempted to masculinize themselves. Perpetua also wrote about Felicity often, but never about her husband.
The two women were executed in a coliseum, but they died in each other’s arms. Their martyrdom is what brought on their saint title and their feast day is March 7th.
The concept of homosexuality did not exist until the nineteenth century, so it is difficult to label it, but that doesn’t mean the relationships weren’t still happening. With so many Christians using religion to justify their homophobia and conversion therapy, it is interesting to look back at some of the stories through this lens and learning about these brave, strong, and most likely queer women.
By Michael Barilla