DON PEDRO II. of Portugal, when a child, had among his little pages a modest boy of rich and princely parents. Much had John de Britto—for so was he called—to bear from his careless-living companions, to whom his holy life was a reproach. A terrible illness made him turn for aid to St. Francis Xavier, a Saint so well loved by the Portuguese; and when, in answer to his prayers, he recovered, his mother vested
Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia, while, the bishop of that place lay concealed during the persecution. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith at Brescia in Lombardy, under the Emperor Adrian. Julian, a heathen lord, apprehended them: and the emperor himself, passing through Brescia, when neither threats nor torments could shake their constancy, commanded them to be beheaded. They seem to have suffered about the year 121. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons, possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.
Reflection.—The spirit of Christ is a spirit of martyrdom—at least of mortification and penance. It is always the spirit of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit in His spirit, and in the fruit of His death. To souls mortified to their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and the most ardent desires of possessing Him in His glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come.
(Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints)
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury’s time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine.
The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.