Feature Article—Roses are Red—Valentine's Who? by Ned Bustard
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler
Roses are Red—Valentine’s Who?
According to Hallmark—and they should know—one hundred eighty-eight million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year, and that does not even include the countless packaged kids' valentines that are given. When thinking about this day, we might picture stressed young men poring over racks and racks of pink and lace at the last minute, but in fact, over 80 percent of all Valentines are purchased by women.
We know that the tyranny of finding and sending the perfect card is all the fault of one man, who died hundreds and hundreds of years ago —Saint Valentine. Or is it? As it turns out, the first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland, and Valentine may not be who we think him to be.
Pope Gelasius I first proclaimed the Feast of Saint Valentine in 496, even though he was one of those “. . . whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” In fact, “Valentinus” is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentines. Our Valentine first appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493, with a woodcut portrait and text stating that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II (also known as Claudius the Goth and Claudius the Cruel) and was buried on the Via Flaminia. But you won’t find him there today. In 1836, remains exhumed from the catacombs were claimed to be those of St Valentine and were transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. Many tourists visit the saintly remains on St. Valentine’s Day, when the casket is carried in solemn procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love. Alleged relics of the saint are also to be found in France, Vienna, Rome, and in Scotland.
In Legenda Aurea (a popular medieval book about the lives of saints), Saint Valentine was persecuted as a Christian by Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was beaten with clubs and stoned. When that didn’t finish Valentine off, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate (circa 269). Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.
This story isn’t at all romantic, so embellishments were added portraying Valentine as a priest who refused a law ordering that young men remain single (as to make for better soldiers). Supposedly our romantic priest Valentine performed marriage ceremonies for young men in secret, and when Claudius found out, he had Valentine thrown in jail. This revised history ends with the doomed priest writing the first “Valentine” to a young girl—either his beloved or the jailer’s daughter, whom he had healed. The note was said to contain the inscription, "From your Valentine,” and was unadorned with any hearts or cherubs.
During the Middle Ages, people in England and France held a popular belief that birds started to look for a mate beginning on February 14. This popular notion further strengthened the idea that the Valentine’s Day festival that fell in the middle of February should be celebrated as the day of love and romance. The concept soon gained ground amongst the lovers, and they began to celebrate the day by exchanging love notes and simple gifts like flowers.
Regardless of the veracity of these St. Valentine’s Day stories, as we approach February 14th we should remember those who have gone before us, dying for our faith and pray that in the face of opposition we would be able to stay true to the Lover of our souls as this great saint did.
Ned Bustard is an author/illustrator who works diligently to make Veritas Press materials beautiful. He is also the editor of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, published by Square Halo Books.
It is hard to believe that the year is more than half way over. This is a bittersweet year for Marlin and me—our youngest child will be graduating from high school. As I prepared his lessons for him this week, I realized that in a short time this will no longer be a part of my day.
February is a month when even those who do not tend to be sentimental have cause to think about the sweeter things in life. Our wonderful graphic designer has made some Valentine’s cards that you can make with your children. If you pause to take the time to do this and deliver them to your friends and neighbors, you will bless those around you whom we frequently take for granted in the midst of our busy lives. What a great lesson to teach our children: to love those around them.
Free Chocolate with February Order
Everyone has heard of Hershey’s Chocolate and their Kisses. But have you heard of Wilbur Buds? It’s rumored that Milton Hershey copied these delightful morsels in the creation of his kisses. We at Veritas Press pride ourselves in being highly sophisticated connoisseurs of fine chocolate and would like to share the benefit of our experience with you. With orders of $100 or more in the month of February we will include a box of these delights for the asking. You must ask. When you place your order simply say, “Please include the chocolates,” or “Give me the chocolate and no one gets hurt,” or something along those lines. (If ordering on the web, type “Chocolates” in the Special Instructions box during checkout.) You may recall that this giveaway was done once before. It was successful both for those of you who took advantage of it and also for the folks working in our warehouse . . . if you know what I mean.)
Q. Where can I see your materials without traveling or actually ordering them?
A. Veritas Press is working to make our website increasingly interactive and more descriptive. The majority of our customers research our materials there. We want you to be able to read samples of the books, see the table of contents, sample the illustrations, and you will have that ability soon. We also have our books and curriculum materials displayed and on sale a few times a year: at the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) convention held in Harrisburg, PA (May 8-9, 2009), at the ACCS annual conference this year to be held in Atlanta, GA on June 25-27, and at our own Teacher Training event held here in Lancaster in July (more details below). You also may order any item from our catalog and return it in good condition within 30 days for a full refund on the item when you call first for return authorization.
Q. Should I sign up for the 2010-2011 online courses now to be sure my child has a reserved seat?
A. We're delighted that you are looking ahead and making plans so far in advance. We schedule our courses a year at a time, because we want to provide you with all the information possible to enable you to make a wise decision. That information includes the instructor, days and times the course will be held and required materials. Therefore, only courses for the academic year 2009-2010 will be available for registration beginning in February.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veritas Scholars Academy Online Courses Registration
Registration begins February 9th for the 2009 – 2010 school year and the summer 2009 online classes. We have added many new ones. You can see the schedule already by going to our web site (www.veritaspress.com) and then clicking on the “online classes” link in the middle of the page.
Great Clothes for Young Ladies
You may recall our mention of Amoretti Designs in the January 2008 epistula. The idea was started by Rebekah Merkle, daughter of Douglas and Nancy Wilson and homeschooling mother of five who is now living in Oxford, England, while her husband works on his PhD. She's added some really cool stuff for spring for young girls. Please take a look at . You can pre-order now, but the ship date is in early March. So grab an Easter dress now, and you can feel very satisfied with yourself at having thought so far ahead! You can also be entered for a chance to win a free T-shirt from the new spring line by sending an email to and putting "Free Tee" in the subject line.
Student Weekend at New Saint Andrews College
Come experience the unique culture of New Saint Andrews on March 27-30. Visit classes, meet faculty and students, tour NSA, attend Disputatio, learn about student housing, and worship at one of the local churches. If you initiate your application during Prospective Student Weekend, we will waive the $50 fee. Enrollment is limited, so apply before the application deadline of February 15! You can register for the weekend at www.nsa.edu. For questions contact Lindsey Leithart Tollefson at email@example.com or 208.882.1566.
Fourth Annual Conference on Film and Worldview
Join featured speakers George Grant and Greg Wilbur on February 20-21, 2009 in Franklin, Tennessee, for films, discussion, seminars and fellowship to wrestle with how to view movies from a Christian worldview—not only in content but artistically as well. Watch and discuss Nanny McPhee, I am David, Driving Miss Daisy and The Philadelphia Story—all stories that present differences between reformational and revolutionary mindsets. Cost is $40, with lower, group rates available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The hosting organization, King’s Meadow Study Center, is a not-for-profit worldview ministry started more than fifteen years ago by George Grant. In addition to worldview and culture studies, King’s Meadow is actively starting a classical Christian college in Middle Tennessee—New College Franklin. Additional information can be found at www.kingsmeadow.com.
17th Annual ACCS Conference: Building a Firm Foundation
The Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) national conference will be held June 25–27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. It is designed to provide the principles of a classical and Christian education and practical instruction in a broad range of subjects. Plenary sessions will feature Charles Colson, George Grant, Matt Whitling, and Douglas Wilson. Practical workshops will teach the implementation of classical Christian education. Click here for more information or contact the ACCS office at (208) 882-6101.
Save the Date: Veritas Press Teacher Training and In-A-Week classes
Next year’s Teacher Training Conference is scheduled for July 13-15, 2009 in Lancaster, Pa. Gary Demar of American Vision will be the keynote speaker. Concurrently, we are offering intense training in what have come to be called In-A-Week classes. From July 13-17, Latin, Greek, and several Omnibus classes will be taught by outstanding teachers in person here in Lancaster. What better way to prepare yourself to teach these courses or just learn the material for your own improvement? Please be encouraged to mark your calendar and join us for these wonderful opportunities.
Future Job Opening with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Online Teachers—With the rapid growth of our online courses we are anticipating needing even more teachers for the 2009–2010 school year. Experienced teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to email@example.com. And don’t wait if you are interested. We continue to interview now to qualify teachers for next year and beyond.
Let your Voice be Heard
We recently receive a moving email regarding right to life and parenting issues from our good friend Steve Demme, author and owner of Math-U-See. He passed on an opportunity to be heard that we want to pass on to you. Click here to read his email.
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