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February 14

St Valentine - February 14

Saint Valentine

Bishop, Martyr

(Around 226 – Around 269)

“from your Valentine

Saint Valentine’s last words in a note signed to a girl he healed

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Valentine was born around 226 A.D. in either Rome or Terni, Italy.  The confusion lies in the fact that a Valentine was a priest and a physician from Rome. However, there was also another Valentine, who was Bishop of Interamna (Terni) which is about sixty miles from Rome. This Valentine was scourged, imprisoned, and then beheaded by the order of Placidus, the prefect of Interamna. Many scholars believe that the two Valentines are the same person and that Valentine had been a Roman priest who became the Bishop of Interamna and was brought back to Rome for his execution.  

Secret Marriage Ceremonies

Emperor Claudius II Gothicus actually prohibited the marriage of young people because he believed unmarried men were better soldiers. During the time of Valentine, polygamy (multiple wives) was very common. Valentine encouraged couples to marry in the church in spite of the edict. Valentine held the marriage ceremonies in secret.

Imprisoned and Tortured

Eventually, Valentine was caught, imprisoned and tortured. One of his jailers, Asterius, had a daughter, Julia, who was blind. Seeing that Valentine was a man of learning, Asterius asked whether his daughter, Julia, might also be brought to Valentine for lessons.

Jailer’s Daughter Julia

One day Julia asked if God really existed and Valentine assured her that He did. She went on to tell him how she prayed morning and night that she might be able to see and Valentine told her that whatever happened would be God’s will and would be for the best. They sat and prayed together for a while. Several weeks passed and the girl’s sight was not restored. Yet the man and his daughter never wavered in their faith and returned each week.

Note to Julia 

On the eve of his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia – knowing his execution was imminent. Valentine asked the jailer for a paper, pen and ink. He quickly jotted a farewell note and handed it to the jailer to give to his blind daughter. Valentine urged her to stay close to God, and he signed it “From Your Valentine.”

His Martyrdom

His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 269 A.D., near a gate in Rome, Italy, that was later named Porta Valentini (now Porta del Popolo) in his memory.  Valentine was buried on the Flaminian Way outside Rome and his relics were later translated to the Church of Saint Praxedes.

Custome of Sending Valentine Card’s and Gifts

When the jailer went home, he was greeted by his little girl. The little girl opened the note and discovered a yellow crocus inside. The message said, “From your Valentine.” As the little girl looked down upon the crocus that spilled into her palm, she saw brilliant colors for the first time in her life! The girl’s eyesight had been restored.  From this event, the custom of sending Valentine’s Day cards and gifts began.

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          February 14

Patron Saint:     Engaged Couples; Happy Marriages; Lovers

Source:

Reflection

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We celebrate loving and being loved on this special day. Of course, most of us find it easier to love someone who loves us first, and that’s what this verse is about. God loves us first and always; we only need to respond to that love.

Imagine God sending you a valentine note, just as St Valentine did. What would it say inside? 

Source: Saint Valentine (d.269) | Saint Mary’s Press (smp.org)

Prayers

Saint Valentine, you continued your love of Christ and maintained your faith, even when you were imprisoned. You sent out a simple note the night before you died and then, a little girl’s sight was restored. May you intercede for us as we try to do simple acts of kindness, not just on St. Valentine’s Day, but every day of our precious lives showing our love to God and one another.

St. Valentine, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Valentine’s Day and giving anonymous gifts to the poor

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Valentine of Rome – Bishop and Christian Martyr

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. February 14 St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

Catholic Exchange – Gentleman Saint: Saint Valentine

Catholic Fire – St. Valentine of Rome, patron of lovers

Catholic News Agency – St. Valentine: How a beheaded martyr became the poster child for romantic love

Catholic Online – St. Valentine

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Valentine of Rome

Franciscan Media – Who Was St. Valentine?

New Advent – Thurston, H. (1912). St. Valentine. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Valentine (d.269)

Saint of the Day – Saint Valentine

uCatholic  – St. Valentine

Wikipedia – Saint Valentine

Video Link

St. Valentine – YouTube Video (Catholic Online)