Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely associated with “courtly love.”
He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, engaged couples, epilepsy, happy marriages, love, and young people. St. Valentine is often represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14.
Although much of St. Valentine’s life is not reliably known, many different legends are attributed to him.
Valentine and his faith were often put to the test. At one point in his life, he was told to restore a judge’s blind daughter’s sight to prove the validity of Jesus, and Valentine did just that.
St. Valentine was later arrested for trying to convert people to Christianity. He was sent to Rome under the emperor Claudius II. Stories tell that St. Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted by Claudius.
Valentine and Claudius got along until Valentine attempted to convert Claudius to Christianity. Claudius became raged and sentenced Valentine to death, demanding he renounce his faith or be beaten with clubs and beheaded.
St. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269.
One variation of St. Valentine’s life states that while imprisoned he healed a jailer’s blind daughter and on the day of his execution, he left the girl a note signed, “Your Valentine.”
Historical accounts claim Valentine’s Day was created to overpower the pagan holiday, Lupercalia, and exactly when the holiday became associated with romance is not widely agreed upon.
Relics of St. Valentine can be found all over the world, including Fr. John Spratt’s gift of a small vessel tinged with St. Valentine’s blood from Pope Gregory XVI in 1836, now located in Dublin, Ireland.
To learn more about St. Valentine, visit Catholic.org.