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Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Stories of St. Valentine


When I was a child in elementary school the holiday "Valentine's Day" was called "Saint Valentine's Day." Funny thing is that of the Saint Valentine nothing is known except his name and that he was buried north of Rome on February 14. It is even uncertain whether the holiday celebrates only one person or more than one of the same name. One legend, which has been captured by Robert Sabuda in a book called simply Saint Valentine, focuses on the kind physician named Valentine who took an interest in a young blind girl. With his healing skill and his deep faith he restored her sight. What we now call Valentine's Day began when he sent the little girl a secret message, which she received after the he was executed. We not only love the story, but also the lovely mosaic-style illustrations.


Another lovely book with a similar, but more involved story line which includes Octavius, is The Story of Valentine by Wilma Pitchford Hays. In this one a young Roman boy, Octavius, befriends Valentine and learns much. The descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells  of Rome and early Christianity really engage you in the story.

"Valentine came and sat down to rest on a bench beside Octavian. The boy, kneeling on  the ground looked up into the old man's face. "I'm afraid for you, " he said. The old man did not answer. Octavian took how of the bench with his muddy hands. "People are saying that Rome was powerful and strong when our people went regularly to the alters of the gods. Now they say we have grown careless. The gods are angry. People say that is why the sickness is spreading, why we lost a ship last week at sea. And they say-" The boy stopped and looked at Valentine as if he couldn't go on. The old man waited. "They say," Octavian almost whispered, "that we must kill those who do not believe in our Roman gods -or Rome will be destroyed." {p. 17}

It is a beautiful story with charming black and white with a wash of red illustrations. The reading of these books have  become a wonderful  part of our Valentine's week traditions.

4 comments:

  1. I think the older children might enjoy those. It is strange to name a holiday for a person we know nothing about - you think it would be named Cupid's day - but then that would make it pagan, wouldn't it? Maybe a better name would be Hallmark Card Day :)

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  2. Thank you for posting some great book titles- if I am lucky, I just MIGHT find them "in" at the library...

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  3. We have that Sabuda title but have never read it. I'm eager to dig it out now! I've never heard of the other title. I'll have to look for it!

    Thanks so much for linking up to RAT!

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  4. I am loving this blog!!! I have just been so busy, and somewhat in the dumps, but I am getting back into the swing of things.

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