Jacquie’s Corner: Valentine’s Day—Biography of Saint Valentine

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

Before I enlighten our readers about Valentine’s Day and how it came about, I will ask each of you to remember your first Valentine card you received or gave out to a cute little boy or girl. I received my first Valentine card at five years old from Gerhardt. Cute, blond hair, blue eyes and followed me everywhere. In the third grade, Gerhardt was still my admirer. On Valentine’s Day he left a card and chocolate on my school desk. My Mom and I went to the 5 & 10 cent store to buy a card for Gerhardt. After grade school graduation we went our separate ways. I will always remember my first love. Years later I became interested in seeking the real Valentine and if he had ever existed, and if so, why did we celebrate on February 14. My curiosity boiled over and I began my search. The following is my find and I loved every minute and word I read about the Love Valentine encountered in his life. Hope you enjoy.

Saint Valentine was a Catholic priest who also worked as a doctor. He lived in Italy during the third century AD and served as a priest in Rome. Historians don’t know much about Valentine’s early life. Valentine became famous for marrying couples who were in love but couldn’t get legally married in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, who outlawed weddings. When Emperor Claudius discovered Valentine performing weddings, he sent Valentine to jail. Valentine used his time in jail to continue to reach out to people with the love that he said Jesus Christ gave him for others. He befriended his jailer, Asterios, who asked Valentine to help his daughter Julia with her lessons. Julia was blind and needed someone to read material for her to learn. They became friends and Julia visited him in jail.

Emperor Claudius also came to like Valentine. He offered to pardon him and set him free if Valentine would renounce his Christian faith. He encouraged Emperor Claudius to place his trust in Christ. Valentine’s faithful choices cost him his life. Emperor Claudius was so enraged at Valentine’s response that he sentenced Valentine to die. A LOVING LETTER INSPIRES VALENTINE’S DAY MESSAGES. Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a last note to encourage Julia to stay close to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” That note inspired people to begin writing their own loving messages on Valentine’s Feast Day, February 14, which is celebrated on the same day on which Valentine was martyred. Valentine was beaten, stoned, and beheaded on February 14, 270. People who remembered his loving service to many young couples began celebrating his life, and he came to be regarded as a saint through whom God had worked to help people in miraculous ways. By 496, Pope Gelasius designated February 14 as Valentine’s official feast day.