By installing the novitiate of his young congregation in Carthage in Tunisia in 1887, Cardinal Lavigerie took Tunisian women as role models for his Daughters.
On the ruins of Carthage :
"You are here on the ruins of Carthage,
on a holy land
of which we can say that all the stones
were dyed with the blood of the martyrs
It is here that two great saints,
Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicite,
have suffered all torments for Christ.
Both African but of different social status,
the one a slave, the other an aristocrat,
they were closely united
by the same faith,
by the same courage,
by the same thirst for devotion and sacrifice,
by the same glorious death. "
Two Tunisian women, models:
Then the former professor of Church history at the Sorbonne tells of the last days and the last hours of Perpetua and Felicite and takes them as models:
"What models, my dear Daughters,
God places before your eyes
from your first steps on this African land!
You too must have triumphed,
like Perpetua, over your filial tenderness,
by separating you from all those you love with such holy affection;
You too, like Felicity
you must distrust your weakness;
but you learn from them how, with the grace of God
when the trial is there
you can triumph over it. "