Okay, I wasn’t sure about this story either, but it’s true, I swear! While Saint Valentine might not be Irish exactly, his remains (or at least some of them) are buried in a small chapel in Dublin, called Whitefriar Street Church. So if you’re in the neighbourhood this weekend, you might want to stop by and visit the man who started this whole crazy hearts and flowers racket. But how did his remains end up in Ireland I hear you ask?
In 1835 an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt was visiting Rome. Apparently his fame as a preacher had gone before him, and the elite of Rome flocked to hear him. In return, he received many tokens of esteem from the doyens of the Church. One such token came from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) and were the remains of Saint Valentine.
The patron saint of lovers, it is said he secretly married couples who, presumably wanted to be married. At the time, the Roman Emperor Claudius wasn’t really feeling the love for the Christians, and our hero ended up in jail. And according to legend, St. Valentine signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and healed from blindness. They still cut off his head though, so I suppose no good deed goes unpunished. And that’s why today we still try our best to be romantic, even if it will all end in disaster. Or something.
On the other hand, if it’s chocolate, champagne and châteaux you’re after, why not pick up a copy of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, which is now on special offer at 99 cents. Or if you prefer an historical epic of love through the ages, The Heirloom is for you.
And now for the original (and still the best in my opinion) the sweet, sad and soulful voice of Chet Baker.
Happy Valentines Day 🙂