St. Roch (also called St. Rocco and St. Rock) cured many people during the plague in early 14th century Italy. Born in Montpellier, France, he was marked not only by human lowliness and generosity but by God’s own powerful sign.
The child of the governor, Roch was destined for great worldly honor. But after the death of his parents, when he was 20, rather than inherit his father’s position, power, and property, he gave his belongings to the poor, the governorship to his uncle, and, dressed now as a poor man, traveled to Rome.
It was said that from his birth, his chest was marked with a sign of the cross. Its no wonder, then, that as Roch encountered many who were afflicted by plague on his way to Rome, he healed these by making the sign of the cross over them.
Eventually contracting the plague himself, Roch retired to a woods outside of Rome, where he was cared for by a local nobleman. Upon his recovery, he returned to Montpellier but, not wanting his identity known, was quiet and taken for a spy. He was thrown into prison where he died five years later.
St. Roch’s humility, care for others, and faith in the power of Christ’s cross have made him a model for all who wish to come closer to Jesus, despite life’s many hardships.
Novena Prayer to St. Roch
O Blessed Saint Roch, patron of the sick, have pity on those who lie upon a bed of suffering. Your power was so great when you were in this world that, by the sign of the Cross, many were healed of their diseases. Now that you are in heaven, your power is not less. Offer, then, to God our sighs and tears and obtain for us that health we seek. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Repeat the following 3 times)
Saint Roch, pray for us, that we may be preserved from all diseases of body and soul.