Saint Valentine . Feast Day. February 14th. The name Valentine derives form the word Valens which means powerful and worthy. According to Catholic tradition Valentine was a third century Roman saint associated with” Courtly Love”. Little is known historically about his life however the Catholic encyclopedia, speaks of two Saint Valentines existing around the same date. The first was a Roman priest and doctor the second was the Bishop of Terni who was born and lived in Interamna in Italy ,while on a temporary stay in Rome he was imprisoned tortured and martyred on February 14th 273 AD. One theory suggests because of the closeness in dates. they are the one and same person. Both are said to have been buried on the Via Flaminia outside Rome where a basilica was erected in Saint Valentines honour in 350 AD bearing his name.Valentine was arrested in Rome by Placidus the Roman prefect and sentenced to death for refusing to bow down and offer sacrifices to pagan gods. While he was in detention it is believed that he married Christian couples in secret . Another tradition holds he cured the jailers blind daughter, on the day of his execution he left her a note signed,” your Valentine.”It is thought that Valentines day was contrived to supersede the pagan holiday Lupercalia.The first romantic association with this festival began in the middle ages when it was believed that birds chose their mates on Valentines day. Valentine is often represented in art with a crippled child or a child with epilepsy at his feet. He is invoked for a happy marriage and by engaged couples he is also the patron saint of bee keepers and those suffering from epilepsy.
Saint Claude Colombiere. Feast Day February 15th. Born in Saint Symphorien d’ Ozon in France in 1641, Claude was the son of a noble family who were pious with a good social status.He spent his earlier years studying philosophy and rhetoric in Vienne in Lyon. Having encountered a call to the religious life he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Avignon at 17 and commenced a life of study. In 1660 he took his first vows and after his ordination to the priesthood he taught at a Jesuit college in Lyon. Here he preached and served as a moderator for several Marian congregations. In 1675 when he took his solemn vows, he was honoured with the position of rector at the Jesuit college in Paray le Monial. It was here in Paray that Colombiere became advisor and confessor to St Mary Margaret Alocoque. Mary was by this time receiving visions of Jesus Compassionate heart for the world. Unfortunately Mary Margaret received a lot of opposition from other theologians and religious and members of her own community ,the Visitation Order who thought she was quite mad.Claude however assured her that her experiences were authentic and instructed her to keep a record of all her visions and messages. He became an avid disciple of the Sacred Heart spreading the devotion world wide, he saw this devotion as the greatest remedy against the rise of Jansenism at the time. Colombiere died in 1682 in Paray le Monial and was canonised in 1992 by Pope John Paul 11.Moved by Margaret’s prayer God sent her His faithful servant and perfect friend, Claude Colombiere.
The Servite Order. Feast Day February 17th. On the feast of the Assumption 1n 1223 , the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to seven young noble Florentines exhorting them to leave the world and to retire and live in solitude and prayer. The seven merchants thus abandoned their professions, families and all their finery and went to live in an isolated ramshackle building in Camariz.The seven men however were not strangers they already had a firm friendship based upon a mutual understanding of Christian ideals especially when it came to helping those in need and honouring the Mother of God. Desiring stricter seclusion they withdrew to Monte Senario on the outskirts of Florence. The seven adopted the name , ” The Seven Holy Servants of Mary”. They dedicated all their lives to the propagation of devotion to Our Lady concentrating on her sorrows and the Passion of Christ. The Order soon grew rapidly and many members became priests undergoing ordination. They followed the rules of St Augustine which the Virgin had instructed them to do in a later vision along with the request to wear a black habit. The Servites also had to wear a black scapular in memory of the suffering Jesus endured at the foot of the Cross. The Servite order is one of the five Catholic Mendicant orders, from its first development in Florence it spread rapidly throughout Europe and was duly approved by Pope Alexander 1V in 1256.The Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Mary were canonised by Pope Leo in 1888.