Dear Father Valentine,
You can’t imagine the guilt I feel that you lay languishing in a prison cell. I begged my father, your jailer, to deliver extra blankets and food to you. After all, it’s my fault you’re there. I was the one who asked you to secretly perform the marriage ceremony between me and my beloved, a soldier. I knew it was forbidden by our most worthy Emperor Claudius II who commanded that all men in his army remain unmarried. You must understand, my husband would have been forced to draw lots. He would have been given a virgin not of his choosing and I would never have seen him again. We couldn’t bear the thought of being separated. Now, because of my selfishness, you are to be put to death.
My father is also a Christian and we both promise to do all we can to make you comfortable until your execution day.
With heartfelt thanks,
My Dearest Camilla,
I want to thank-you for sending me extra food and blankets. This prison cell is very cold. I hope you don’t mind that I distributed the food among the other inmates here.
It was my privilege to perform your wedding ceremony. Your happiness is reward enough for me. I was well aware of the law imposed by our pagan ruler and I chose instead to obey God’s laws. I am proud to have joined you and your husband, and many other young lovers, in Holy Matrimony.
It troubles me greatly that we are not allowed to practice our faith. Let us pray that the Roman persecution of Christians will soon end, so that we no longer have to hide like frightened animals. Truly, Camilla, it is enough to break my heart. Oh, the wickedness that takes place in the Coliseum! I heard that they are feeding Christians to the lions, even little children.
I will tell you that they have set the date of February 14 as my execution day. Pray for me. I will be beaten to death with clubs and then they will behead me. Camilla, I am not afraid to die. Knowing that I did God’s will is all that matters.
I wish you and your beloved many blessings and a happy life together.