1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Roch, St

ROCH, ST (Lat. Rochus; Ital. Rocco; Span. Roque; Fr. Roch) (d. 1327), a confessor whose death is commemorated on the 16th of August; he is specially invoked against the plague. According to his Acta, he was born at Montpellier, France, about 1295. He early began to manifest strict asceticism and great devoutness, and on the death of his parents in his twentieth year he gave all his substance to the poor. Coming to Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Aquapendente, Cesena and Rome, and effected many miraculous cures by prayer and simple contact. After similar ministries at Piacenza he himself fell ill. He was expelled from the town, and withdrew into the forest, where he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothardus supplied him with bread. On his return to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy and, thrown into prison, Where he died on the 16th of August 1327, having previously obtained from God this favour—that all plague-stricken persons invoking him should be healed. His cult spread through Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy. A magnificent temple was raised to him at Venice, where his body is believed to lie, and numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honour. He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, with a wound in his thigh, and with a dog near him carrying a loaf in its mouth.

See Acta sanctarum, August, iii. 380–415; Charles Cahier Les Caractéristiques des saints (Paris, 1867) pp. 216-217.  (H. De.)