Many of us know the gist of the Valentine story, but I suspect most (myself included until today) don't have it to the end. Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. He lived in a dark & perilous time, in 3rd Century Roman Empire, under the rule of Claudius II (a.k.a. Claudius the Cruel). Dear Claudius had some wild ideas. He was against & actively persecute Christians & their one-God belief system. He was also finding it difficult recruiting soldiers. He missed the point that maybe the problem was him & the wars he chose to fight & decided it would be best to ban marriages between young people. He believed this not only would attract more soldiers (them being single & all) but also, that the soldiers would be better as they'd have no one at home to worry about.
Claudius should have known better. You can't fight love (Lord knows we've all tried). Where there's a will there's a way & early century Roman lovers found a way. Valentinus was a Catholic priest who would not bow to the tyranny. Partly because he believed in love & partly because he wanted more young people married through the church, he continued to perform the ceremony in secret.
These would include himself & the couple, in a dark room lit only by one candle. They whispered & listened for soldiers all the long. One day, his luck ran out & while performing a marriage, he was caught (though the young couple managed to escape). He was thrown in prison to await his end. While incarcerated, it is said, young people tossed flowers, notes, & treats through his cell window to keep up his spirits (right!).
One of his guards, had a young, bright daughter. Her name is unknown, but she was blind & her father, Asterius, was a good man. There are a few different accounts come this part of the story. One is that the girl's father wanted her to have an education & that Valentines became her tutor - that she came to see the world through his eyes. The other is that he fell in love with her & she was his one great love. What stories seem to agree on however is that Asterius (&/or his daughter) asked Valentinus to heel her & after he sat & prayed with her on many occasions, she gained her sight.
Aterius converted to Christianity as did many others within the prison. This upset Claudius & he finally decided to torture & execute Valentinus. As Valentine was on his way out to be beheaded, on February 14, 278 (approx.), he left one last note for his student/love, which was signed, From Your Valentine.