Roch, St

Roch, St., a wonder worker of the Romish Church, respecting whom there is evidence to show that he was born at Montpellier, about A.D. 1295; that he visited the towns of Italy during an epidemic to nurse the sick, and effected cures by the might of his prayers; that he subsequently returned to his native city, and was there imprisoned during several years on the charge of being a spy; and that he died in 1327. It is said that while himself sick of the plague, and lying in a hovel in the neighborhood of Piacenza, he was saved from starvation by a hound, who brought him bread from time to time. The stories of his descent from a royal stock and of his having attained the cardinalate are wholly fabulous. Various miracles are said to have been wrought by him after his death. A plague which broke out at Costnitz during the sessions of a council was stilled by invoking the aid of "the blessed confessor and physician Rochus." It is said that his body was stolen in 1485 and brought to Venice; but Montpellier, Turin, Antwerp, and other towns boast that they possess genuine relics of St. Roch, and churches and chapels bearing his name are found in all the important towns of Roman Catholic Europe. A Confraternitas S. Rochi, a Morbo Epidemioe Liberatoris, has existed in Rome since the close of the 15th century, and was endowed with rich privileges and exemptions by popes Alexander VI, Leo X, and Pius IV; and associations bearing similar names were formed at Bologna, Venice, Turin, Aries, and Antwerp — one having been founded in the place last named so late as 1685. St. Roch is commemorated Aug. 16. See Acta Sanctorum, Aug. 3, 380-414,

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