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St. Rocco

Rocco or Roch as he is often called was born around 1295 at Montpellier, France where his father was governor. At his birth, he reportedly had the mark of a red cross on his chest. He lost his parents when he was around twenty and distributed his inheritance to the poor. After giving the government of the city over to his uncle, he set out as a poor pilgrim for Rome. He stopped at the plague ridden city of Aquapendente and helped the victims, who were cured when he made the sign of the cross. He then went on to other plague cities, curing victims with the sign of the cross. He eventually was stricken by the plague and was nursed back to health by a man named Gothard, who had miraculously found the sick saint in the hermit’s hut where he was staying. When Rocco returned home to Montpellier, no one recognized him; thinking he was a spy, the governor (his own uncle) threw him into prison, where he stayed for five years until his death in 1327. He was then identified by the cross on his chest and given a public funeral. Many miracles occurred after his death. Some scholars think that Roch belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis, but this cannot be proved and other parts of his story are hard to verify with historical documents. Though never formerly canonized, the popes approved his veneration and Paul III instituted a confraternity under his name. St. Roch’s feast is August 16

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