Today is the feast day of St. Valentine!
Valentine was a holy priest who lived in Rome in the third century. When Emperor Claudius II banned Christianity, Valentine helped and encouraged the Christians who faced martyrdom rather than give up their faith. It is said he even performed marriage ceremonies for Christian couples.
Then Valentine himself was arrested. When he refused to give up his faith and worship the pagan Roman gods, he was put in prison. According to one legend, the official who imprisoned him had a blind daughter. Valentine cured her, and the official’s whole family became Christian. When Valentine was condemned to death, he wrote a farewell letter to the girl and signed it, “from your Valentine.” This could be where we get the custom of sending “Valentines” on February 14.
St. Valentine was beheaded on February 14 in the year 269 or 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Road, where a basilica, a large and beautiful church, was built in 350.
Some people think the custom of sending valentines grew from a belief in the Middle Ages that birds began to choose their mates on February 14. But the best reason for honoring St. Valentine as the patron saint of love is his own great love of God, which never weakened even at the cost of his life.