August 16, 2021
No one is positive, but it appears that Saint Roch was born in Montpellier, France, the son of the governor. Nothing is known of his childhood, but it is known that he lost both parents by the age of twenty. He then went on pilgrimage to Rome and there cared for the victims of a plague that was taking its toll on Italy. He, himself, succumbed to the disease while at Piacenza, but he soon recovered. He was later reputed to have performed many healing miracles.
When he return to Montpellier, he was jailed for five years by his uncle who accused him of being a spy disguised as a pilgrim. The imprisonment appears to have been a mistake, and Saint Roch died in prison. After his death, it seems a birthmark in the form of a cross on his chest identified him as the son of the former governor. Later, when miracles were reported through his intercession, a popular cult developed.
It is obvious that being well known or even recognizable are not necessary for sainthood. But service to the community through care for those in need–through miracles at his intercession–seem to suffice.
Saint Roch is the Patron Saint of: