Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day to extend to others some sign of our love and appreciation.  It can be a special day for the family of an incarcerated member because Valentine’s Day all started with the kind thank-you note of a man who was in prison.

HERE’S THE STORY as we pieced it together from several sources:

Father Valentine (possibly a bishop) was beheaded about 269 near Rome for publicly professing Christianity and for aiding persecuted Christians.  While he was in prison, legend has it that he restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter.

On the eve of his death, he wrote a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, and  signing it, “From Your Valentine”



The good example of Fr. Valentine is practiced today as we send valentines of love and appreciation to others.  So the practice can continue as incarcerated men and women and their families send Valentine cards, notes, or letters to family members and others who have been kind in any way.  These cards, etc. could also include someone who is hospitalized, in a nursing home, in the military, or anyone you know who might be lonely.

Just as Fr. Valentine was kind to his jail keeper’s daughter, we can be kind to the guards, administration staff, chaplains, and to other inmates and their families by our notes and words of appreciation.  Fill your day with saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” to everyone.


Lord, you tell us that whatever we do to the least of your people, we do unto you.  Help us to see you in the lives of those who are confined.  Send us your Spirit to give us the creativity, courage and love we need to be your Valentine of Love for others.

– An Institute of Peace and Justice Prayer