Though we often associate Valentine’s Day with the warm fuzzies of hearts, flowers, and chocolates, its origins are distinctly more serious and heroic than most people realize.
Information about St. Valentine is limited, but what we do know is that there are records of three different St. Valentines.
The first was a priest and physician in Rome. He joined St. Marius in comforting the martyrs during the persecution of emperor Claudius II Gothicus and was later arrested. Legend has it that the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, according to some accounts, healed from blindness. Eventually, he was condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on February 14, AD 270. Later, a basilica was built at the site of his tomb by Pope Julius I.