The date of the birth of St. Roch can not be determined with exactness, but it is said that he was born about 1295, at Montpellier. His father held a position of power and influence in the city. After the death of his parents, when he was about twenty years of age, the young man had no inclination to take his father’s position, but handed over the government to his uncle. He then distributed his wealth to the poor and set out on a journey to Italy.
At that time many people were afflicted with the plague, and the young man, dressed as a pilgrim, devoted his time, energy, and prayers to the care of those who had been stricken. Wherever he went the plague disappeared before him, due to the fact that God gave him the power of working miracles in behalf of those who were suffering from the terrible disease.
Having contracted the malady himself, from which he recovered in the course of time, the young man went back to his own city in the year 1322. Not wishing to make himself known, he was cast into prison as a spy and died there five years later in the year 1327. When his identity became known from some papers in his possession, he was accorded a public funeral, which was the occasion of numerous miracles.
The relics of St. Roch are venerated at Venice, and the Church has established an arch-confraternity in his house. His feast is celebrated on the 16th of August.
Text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).