February 14 – St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr
VALENTINE was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterward to be beheaded, which was executed on the 14th of February, about the year 270. Pope Julius I, is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly Porta Valentini. The greater part of his relics are now in the Church of St. Praxedes. To abolish the heathens’ lewd superstitious custom of boys ‘ drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the 15th of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of Saints in billets given on this day.
Reflection.—In the cause of justice and truth, prudence should not be held in account; otherwise prudence is mere human respect. St. Paul says: “The wisdom of the flesh is death.”
Taken from the “Pictorial Lives of the Saints: with Reflections for Everyday in the year