Church celebrates patron saint of ‘love’

On February 14, the Catholic Church commemorates St. Valentine, the patron saint of couples and young people in love.

One tradition in the church is that St. Valentine was a Roman priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor realized that unmarried men made better soldiers so he forbade young men to become engaged or to marry. St. Valentine, realizing the injustice of this law, helped young couples to marry in secret.

He was eventually betrayed, and the emperor had him arrested and thrown in jail. He supposedly converted his jailer while he was incarcerated. Ultimately, he was martyred by beheading.

Another story of St. Valentine says that he was arrested for helping Christians escape the harsh and brutal conditions of Roman jails. He is purported to have fallen in love with a young woman, perhaps the jailer’s daughter. Before he died, he wrote her one last letter, which he signed, “from your Valentine.”

Thus, the first “valentine” was created. 

Whatever his story, many couples remember St. Valentine on February 14 by expressing their love for one another with gifts of flowers, candies or jewelry. 

St. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, travelers and young people.

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