Disclosure: We have absolutely no archival records remotely alluding to St. Valentine’s Day.
Instead, we are taking this opportunity to highlight our own Most. Rev. Francis Valentine Allen, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto from 1954-1977. His middle name, from the Latin valens (meaning "strong, vigorous, healthy") honours his father, Valentine James Allen.
Interesting facts about Bishop Francis Valentine Allen:
- Bishop Francis Valentine Allen (Frank to his friends) was a true Torontonian. He was born in Toronto on June 25th, 1909. He attended Toronto schools, was ordained at St. Michael's Cathedral and served in Toronto his whole life.
- Francis was brought up in a devout household; of the seven children in his family, the four girls became religious sisters, and two of the three boys became priests.
- Father Allen served as pastor at a few parishes, but he quickly gained more responsibility. He was named Secretary of St. Augustine’s
Seminary in 1935, Vice-Chancellor in Temporalibus in 1936 and Chancellor in Spiritualibus in 1942.
- Father Allen accompanied Cardinal McGuigan to Rome for the Cardinal's reception of the Red Hat and while there was named a Domestic Prelate (Monsignor) by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
- In 1954, Monsignor Allen was appointed titular Bishop of Avensa (in North Africa) and Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal McGuigan. As well as assisting Cardinal McGuigan, Bishop Allen continued as Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. He was Toronto’s third Auxiliary Bishop.
- Bishop Allen was also involved in various other activities. He was
a Council Father at the Second Vatican Council. He was Chairman of the
Archdiocesan High School Board, the Archdiocesan Moderator of Religious Congregations,
Moderator of the Holy Name Society of Canada and was on the board of the
Catholic Church Extension Society.
- Francis Valentine Allen died on October 7, 1977, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the anniversary of his episcopal consecration. More than 1200 people attended his funeral. He was interred in
the family plot in Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto. Allen was 68 years old, a priest for 44
years and a bishop for 23 years.
- His eponymous Toronto high school, Bishop Allen Academy, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Bishop Allen wrote extensively on Catholic education in high schools:
“Education of the whole man necessarily includes a fourfold development: physical, mental, moral and spiritual. Not only must the body and mind be educated, but the soul also must grow and develop along the lines determined by its Creator, if the child’s development is to be entire and his education complete.”
Read a full biography here.