There was actually a St. Valentine, a bishop, who lived in the first century. He was martyred in the year 269. His feast day is February 14th in honor of the day he was martyred, which is now celebrated as Valentine’s Day. He is the patron saint of love, young people, engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, and travelers.
“One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test. St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision. Judge Asterius was humbled and obeyed Valentine’s requests. Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates…On the day of his execution, he left the girl a note signed, “Your Valentine.” —http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=159
St. Valentine was a real person and martyred for his faith. The emperor wanted his army to consist of single men but St. Valentine married many couples against the emperor’s commands. This may be part of why his was martyred. St. Valentine believed in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony as a lifelong Covenant between a man, woman and God. He died for this sacrament and covenant.
As you celebrate this holiday, remember that this is a holy feast day for a saint who gave his life for love and marriage and faith.
(By the way, our calendar has many religious holidays that have become commonplace. These are Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, All Saint’s Day (Halloween), Christmas, among many other saint feast days.)