August Europe Saints

Saint Roch

Feast Day: August 16

How To Make French Bread

Today we are feasting with… Saint Roch.

Saint Roch

Saint Roch, Help of the Sick

Roch was born around 1295 to the wealthy governor of Montpellier, France; with a red birthmark on his chest in the shape of a cross. When he was about twenty years old both of his parents died. After the tragic loss of his parents, Roch gave away all of his possessions and left his governing responsibilities to his uncle. He then joined the Third Order of the Franciscans and set off for a pilgrimage to Rome.

On his way he stopped in a town suffering from the plague. Roch would pray for the victims, and make the sign of the cross over them. Afterwards, many victims were miraculously cured by the prayers of Roch. He continued to visit many plague stricken towns on his way to Rome, driving out the plague. Unfortunately, one day Roch caught the plague himself and went off into a nearby forest to die.

A Dog and a Spring

Luckily for Roch, a dog found him lying in the woods and began to bring him food on a regular basis. A spring also formed next to where Roch had been resting to provide him with something to drink. Through this divine intervention, Roch soon recovered and decided to return to Montpellier. When he arrived in Montpellier, the people mistook him as a spy dressed in pilgrim’s clothing. The authorities arrested Roch and sent him to prison. Roch did not reveal his identity as the late governor’s son because he did not want to draw attention to himself.

He was kept in prison for five years, during which an angel cared for him. Roch passed away on August 16, 1327. After his death the people discovered the birthmark on his chest and recognized him as the governor’s son. The people gave him a venerable funeral and eventually built a church in his honor.

Saint Roch’s feast day is August 16. He is the patron of dogs, knee problems, and contagious diseases.  

Saint Roch, pray for us!  

How To Make French Bread