The Heart of a Romantic
February 04, 2010
Author of the novel Valentine: A Love Story, Professor Chet Raymo [left] notes there are three things you should know about the patron saint of love:
1. Valentine may be the most popular Christian saint in the world. Even the Iranians and Chinese go loopy with romance on his feast day.
2. There may have been more than one Valentine.
3. It is possible that none of these Valentines actually existed.
"Supposedly Valentine was a Roman martyr who had his head chopped off by the Emperor Claudius on February 14. But so little (nothing) is reliably known about him that he was removed from the liturgical calendar of saints in 1969," notes Raymo, professor emeritus of physics at Stonehill.
No matter, relics of the saint are claimed and venerated in half-a-dozen churches of Europe, including Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin. So many bits and pieces of Val are scattered about, one wonders what could possibly be left in his traditional burial place near Rome.
"Most Valentine lore seems to have originated in the Middle Ages, in the days of chivalry and romance, including the tale I heard from former President Bartley MacPháidín, C.S.C. '59 about Valentine restoring the sight of the blind daughter of his jailer just before the fall of the ax.
That was enough of a hook on which to hang a novel. Every story is a love story if you have the heart of a romantic," explains Raymo.
Published by Crowley Publications in 2007, Valentine: A Love Story is a work of historical fiction which puts a human face on the popular, but mysterious saint.
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