From the Archives: The Martyrdom of Perpetua
While we were still under arrest, my father out of love for me was trying to persuade me and shake my resolution. “Father,” I said, “do you see this vase here, for example, or water pot or whatever.”
“Yes, I do,” said he.
And I told him: “Could it be called by any other name than what it is?”
And he said: “No.”
“Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.”
At this my father was so angered by the word “Christian” that he moved towards me as though he would pluck my eyes out. But he left it at that and departed, vanquished along with his diabolical arguments ….
Then Tertius and Pomponius, those blessed deacons who tried to take care of us, bribed the soldiers to allow us to go to a better part of the prison to refresh ourselves for a few hours. Everyone then left that dungeon and shifted for himself. I nursed my baby, who was faint from hunger. In my anxiety I spoke to my mother about the child, I tried to comfort my brother, and I gave the child into their charge. I was in pain because I saw them suffering out of pity for me. These were the trials I had to endure for many days. Then I got permission for my baby to stay with me in prison. At once I recovered my health, relieved as I was of my worry and anxiety over the child. My prison had suddenly become a palace, so that I wanted to be there rather than anywhere else.
Then my brother said to me: “Dear sister, you are greatly privileged; surely you might ask for a vision to discover whether you are to be condemned or freed.”
Faithfully I promised that I would, for I knew that I could speak with the Lord, whose great blessings I had come to experience …. Then I made my request and this was the vision I had.
I saw a ladder of tremendous height made of ...