Just after the new year, stores are full of red hearts, candy and stuffed animals in red and pink colors. Greetings cards are displayed in such a way so that you cannot miss them.
“Valentine’s Day” is approaching along with thoughts of romance, flowers and chocolates. St. Valentine’s is known as the saint of romance.
But did you know that during his lifetime St. Valentine was often called upon to help children with epilepsy? The name ‘Valentine’ sounds similar to the German word ‘fallen’, which means ‘to fall’. For a long time, epilepsy was also known as the ‘falling disease.’ There is also a rumor that epilepsy was previously called ‘St. Valentine’s illness.’
There are quite a few paintings of saints with small children clearly having a seizure, extending legs and arms, some with arched backs that babies show when having a spasm. So far, no cure for epilepsy has been found and the search continues. We have translated drug trials for pharma companies testing new medications to cure epilepsy. Since we still don’t fully understand everything about epilepsy, it is understandable that in ancient times people turned to saints for a cure.
The town of Monselice in northern Italy claims that St. Valentine’s bones rest in their chapel. The town uses that ‘fact’ – nobody knows if it is true – to celebrate February 14 with a big Italian ‘festa.’