Explore the Saints of St. Mary’s Basilica found in stained glass windows and rediscover the beauty of the Basilica. Together let’s rediscover our saintly companions on our journey of faith. Today we visit St. Roche.
Who is St. Roche?
Few details are known about St. Roche’s life apart from the traditions of his miraculous healings during the Black Death, which were effected when he made the Sign of the Cross. Known for his voluntary poverty he is venerated as a great healer, especially in times of pestilence. Franciscan have traditionally claimed him as a member of the third order; in 1694 his cult was approved for Franciscan Observants. Visit Franciscan Media, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars (OFM), for a short audio and written reflection on the history St. Roche (Roch).
Saints and their Attributes
Artists have developed standard ways of representing saints, allowing their images to be ‘read’ to reveal their identities. Artists often show saints with particular symbols, known as attributes. These attributes are reminders of how a saint was martyred, while others recall important actions or events from their life. Through attributes we are able to identify the saints and tell their stories.
What are St. Roche’s attributes?
Pilgrim Staff and Scallop Shell on his Cloak:
St. Roche went on pilgrimage to Rome and while there cared for the victims of a plague that was taking its toll on Italy. A scallop shell and a walking stick are ancient symbols to identify a pilgrim.
Pilgrim Pointing to Plague Spot on his Thigh:
On pilgrimage, he contracted plague while caring for the sick and crawled off to die. He shows the sores of plague on his thigh.
Dog with Loaf in Mouth Beside Him:
After he crawled off to die he was kept alive by a dog that daily brought him a loaf of bread and licked his wounds until they were healed.
Patron Saint of:
Invoked against Epidemics, Plagues, Skin Diseases, Knee Problems
Falsely Accused People
August 17 (Third Order Franciscans)
Prayer to St. Roche
O Blessed Saint Roche,
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.
To schedule a group docent tour to explore the history, architecture, art, sacred symbols and mission of St. Mary’s Basilica please contact us.