Saint Valentine baptizing St. Lucile
Jacopo Bassano, 1575
Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Valentine, patron of lovers, young people, and happy marriages.
St. Valentine was a priest from Rome who lived during the third century. During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, he was caught assisting Christians who were being persecuted. He was asked to renounce his faith but he remained steadfast and strong in his faith. He was arrested and imprisoned. The Emperor took a liking to Valentinus but when the priest tried to convert the Emperor, he was beaten with clubs. His Christian courage and faith made him receive the torture with humility and patience.
The Prefect of Rome, finding all tortures ineffectual, ordered the beheading of St. Valentine on February 14, 269. Over a century later, in 494 AD, February 14 was declared his feast day by Pope Gelasius.
Several miracles have been attributed to St. Valentine. One legend says that while in prison, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer, whose sight he restored. On the eve of his death, it was said that he wrote a letter addressed to the jailer’s daughter, which was signed, “From your Valentine.’’
Stories about St. Valentine not only stress his heroism but also the romantic side of him. Today, people send candies, flowers, love letters, and gifts on February 14 in the name of St. Valentine. Married couples and lovers appeal to him for courage and strength in facing problems in their love life.
As we celebrate the memorial of St. Valentine, let us not only remember him as the patron of lovers. Let us be inspired by his strength in trying to defend his faith.
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Prayer to St. Valentine Patron of Sweethearts, Young People, Love & Happy Marriages
Dear Saint and glorious Martyr, who are so popular with lovers, be kind to those whom we love and to us. Teach us to love unselfishly and to find great joy in giving. Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other. Let them love each other in God and God in each other. Amen.