The Story of Saint Perpetua

Mike Aquilina (script consultant)
Christian History Institute
Catholic Heroes of the Faith
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This short animated film (32 minutes) tells the story of Saint Perpetua and her companions, who were martyred in Carthage, in North Africa, in the year 203. The animation is good, the best of any Catholic animated films I've seen, though not reaching the quality of The Prince of Egypt. The storyline, however, is quite rich and historically detailed and skillfully brings to life the sorrows and fears, hopes and joys, present in the life and struggles of these martyrs, and the early Church in general. In particular, the concept that those awaiting martyrdom might fear pain, but do not fear death, is very helpful and hopeful!

The story is quite dramatic and might be difficult for more sensitive children, though the producers have skillfully avoided gore or some details that are unnecessary for children. In fact, for many children it might be a good introduction to the idea of martyrdom. The comic relief, provided by the devout pagan jailer (a real-life character who ends up converting and tells Perpetua's story to others!) and his attempts to communicate with his "gods", helps draw children into the story as well. My younger children (ages 5-11) have been entranced by this story and have consequently developed a real devotion to Saints Felicity and Perpetua thanks to this film.

I do recommend previewing the movie first before sharing it with younger or more sensitive children.

Mike Aquilina, a pre-eminent Catholic author and speaker on the Fathers of the Church (and a homeschool dad of six!) served as script consultant for this video.

The same company has also produced a 55 minute documentary entitled The Passion of Saint Perpetua: Martyr of the Faith which is also quite good and includes detailed commentary from Mike Aquilina. Although it has some content that is a little more mature than that found in the video, on the whole it's surprisingly family-friendly and is quite moving!

Additional notes: 

This animated DVD was donated for review by Catholic Heroes of the Faith. We were able to rent "The Passion of Saint Perpetua: Martyr of the Faith" through for a very reasonable fee.

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