In third century Rome, an oppressive Roman emperor, Claudius II ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods and he made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.
Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ and continued to practice his ideal and beliefs. He was arrested and imprisoned. During the weeks of his imprisonment, the jailer saw that he was a man of learning and begged him to teach his daughter who was blind.
Valentinius agreed to teach Julia. Valentinius read stories of Rome's history, described the world of nature to her, taught her arithetic and told her about God. She trusted him and found comfort in his quiet strength. Julia asked many questions about God. She wanted to know if He really answered prayer. Valentinius assured her that God answers all prayers if you blieve in Him. Julia asked God if she could see. Valentinius knelt with her in the cell and suddenly it was filled with a bright light. Julia cried, "Valentinius, I can see." Valentinus praised God
On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia urging her to stay close to God and he signed it "From Your Valentine."
His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 AD near a gate that was later named porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.
Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship On each Feb 14th, St. Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love and devotion are exchanged around the world.
Thank you Sandra Lee Smith for sharing this story with me!!