This air born Pelican in Horcon, a small Chilean fishing village on the Pacific Coast; represents a spirit freed from the problems that once weighed her down.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

What does the word “valentine” suggest to you? Check the ones that apply:

  1. A Roman priest born in Terni, a city in southern Umbria, executed for refusing to renounce his Christian faith in 270 AD.
  2. February 14th ; the day honouring the martyrdom of Saint Valentine.
  3. A word derived from “valens” that means strong, powerful and worthy.
  4. The patron saint for lovers, travellers and epileptics.
  5. Chocolates, candy and other gifts of affection.

Did you choose #5? It’s the most common response so I suspect you did. What about the others?

Saint Valentine did exist. Details about his life are sketchy but #1 to #4 reflects generally accepted facts.

Padre Valentine is a priest in The Inheritance. He recites a prayer that opens the book and plays a pivotal role in the first scene that sets the stage for the major conflict driving the story. Right from the start, Padre Valentine is presented as a mysterious and tormented man. Ten years ago he’d been a student in a theological seminary in Rome so how had he ended up in Cetraro, a desolate fishing village on Calabria’s rocky Tyrrhenian coast? Names help create character and Padre Valentine’s provides a clue as to the role he will play in the novel.

Has your life turned out exactly as expected?

Reflect on the following for a moment:

  1. Have you ever faced a moral dilemma?
  2. Have you ever done or said something that you wished you could erase?
  3. Has your life ever gotten off-track?
  4. Have you ever ended up somewhere you didn’t belong?
  5. Have you ever felt trapped in a situation?

Did you respond “YES” to any of these questions?
Padre Valentine answered “YES” to all five.

Life never turns out as expected for any of us and Padre Valentine’s predicament reflects a universal condition. The priest is plagued with an inner turmoil that we all have undoubtedly experienced sometime in our lives.

Have you ever corrected a past wrong?

Reflect on the following for a moment:

  1. Have you ever apologized to a person in your past that you hurt?
  2. Have you ever asked someone you maligned for forgiveness?
  3. Have you ever sacrificed something you valued to make up for a wrong you committed?
  4. Have you ever risked everything for the possibility of redemption?
  5. Have you ever broken free of a hold that was making you do things you didn’t want to do?

Did you respond “YES” to any of these questions?
By the end of The Inheritance, Padre Valentine’s answers will be clear.

There is a thread of Padre Valentine in all of us and, for this reason; we empathize with him from the beginning of the novel.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

Are you a saint or sinner? I’d welcome your comments.

Birds represent one of the symbols associated with Saint Valentine and butterflies are synonymous with transformation. I hope you enjoy my photographs.

Red-Footed Booby in The Galapagos Islands

The Red-Footed Booby from The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador is a spectacular diver. We, too, are capable of amazing feats and can put our life back on track.

Butterfly on a railing in Iguazu Falls

This butterfly celebrates the beauty of Iguaza National Park, a World Heritage Site near the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and the potential within us to live the life we imagine.

Butterfly in Iguaza National Park

A butterfly on the railing in Iguazu Falls, Argentina ready to take flight symbolizes the lightness that awaits us when we correct our past mistakes.