As someone who likes to learn about obscure saints – especially through my fav Lenten devotion Lent Madness – it occurs to me that I have been remiss in my studies. For many, many years I have given and received, made and purchased Valentine cards for my loved ones, but not given a thought to the saint that this greeting-card and special-menu holiday honors. Well, today it is time to fill the lacuna in my saintly knowledge. And yours as well. Here is what I found out:

Valentine was a Roman dude. Or maybe two. And he was a priest. Or a bishop. No one knows for sure. But he was martyred for his faith and maybe also because he married couples in defiance of the law. In any case, poor Valentine was tortured and beheaded. Not to make light (well, maybe to make light) but it seems like many people experience similar feelings today when they observe his day – they give all they’ve got for loved ones and get, well, cut off.

For all his bravery and miracles (he cured his jailer’s blind daughter!), he has been made the patron saint of engaged couples and beekeepers, among other things. And, since I got married on St. Valentine’s Day, I happen to know from observance that he seems also to be the patron saint of Bridezillas. I promise I was well-behaved on my wedding day, but anyone who has been to a reception or hotel lobby on that day can tell you, it is full of people martyred by brides. I myself was witness to such a martyrdom when a new bride forced her entire wedding party to re-enact their hotel arrival three times until it looked the way she wanted on video.

Tread lightly on February 14th. Send some nice cards and chocolates. No matter how loved or abandoned you feel, be glad you have not been martyred for your faith or someone else’s wedding fantasy. Also, consider the beekeepers, who have a patron saint celebrated with chocolate and not honey.