Saint Roch Patron Saint of Dogs


St. RochSaint Roch is one, among many other saints, whose actual history is crowded with legend and therefore it is almost impossible to deduce whether legend is historically accurate or completely off base. However, Saint Roch was historically a French noble. Legend claims that he was marked from birth by a red cross on his chest which grew as he did. Furthermore, as an infant he fasted when his mother fasted which usually meant fasting at least once a week and on those days only feeding once.

Clearly Saint Roch began his holy life at a very young age. Unfortunately both his parents died by the time he was twenty and therefore he sold all of his possessions and traveled to Rome where he cared for plague victims in Italy. He was known for miraculous cures either by touch or the Sign of the Cross. Eventually he contracted the plague himself and therefore ran off to the woods to die.

Saint Roch was surprised by Count Gothard’s hunting dog which brought him food and licked his wounds which began to heal. Furthermore, a spring arose out of the ground where he lay which gave him a constant supply of clean water, certainly a rarity in Rome at the time. After returning to health, he ventured back to his home in Montpellier where was accussed of being a spy and was imprisoned by his uncle who failed to recognize him. He then lived in prison for 5 years with an angel caring for him until he died in 1327.

Cult of St. Roch

After his death, miracles taking place by his intercession became increasingly more popular which resulted in a cult becoming developed around him. The Church of San Rocco was built in Venice, Italy quickly after his death and today holds many of his relics. Intercession to Saint Roch increased ten-fold after the Fathers of the Council of Constance of 1414 ordered public prayers and processions for the saint which immediately ended a plague in Constance. Saint Roch’s feast day is August 16th and typically involves a procession of a Saint Roch statue.

Fun St. Roch facts

  • St. Roch is the patron against plague, cholera, and skin rashes and typically devotion includes prayer cards and St. Roch Medals.

  • Furthermore, he is the Patron of Dogs, and 15 cities/towns in Italy.

  • St. Roch is typically presented with a dog feeding him and a nasty knee wound.

  • St. Roch never revealed that he had noble blood while he was in prison because he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. After his death, people discovered who he was by the birth mark cross on his chest.

  • A powerful archconfraternity of Saint Roch still exists today and flourishes.

About Nick

Nick is a writer at The Catholic Company. He is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College with a degree in Theology. He is also the Marketing Assistant / Web Analyst at the Catholic Company. You can reach him on Google+.
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34 Responses to Saint Roch Patron Saint of Dogs

  1. Thank you for every other magnificent post. Where else may anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal method of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such info.

  2. HELEN CLAIRE OGDEN-GRABLE says:

    I LOVE SAINT ROCH. HE WAS AN INCREDIBLE MAN WHO CARED MORE ABOUT OTHERS THAN HE DID HIMSELF.
    THE DOG CARED ABOUT SAINT ROCH AND BROUGHT HIM FOOD AND LICKED HIS SORES.

  3. Era Westgate says:

    Hi,

    Can you please tell me what is the color of St. Roch’s dog?

    Thanks,

    Era

  4. Gretchen says:

    Hi Era,

    St. Roch lived in the 14th century . . . I am not aware of any tradition that tells us what kind of dog he had. If you ever come across this answer, be sure to let us know!

  5. Roch Wurst says:

    My given name is ROCH. I have yet to meet another person alive today with this name. Is there anyone else alive with this name?

  6. Nick says:

    Roch is certainly a very unique name. I was able to find another Roch, Roch Courcy, online via Google search. On the other hand, you are the first Roch I have ever met. Roch is certainly not a very popular name, at least not in the current American culture.

  7. mary fatima a. juguilon says:

    i like to know the name of saint roch’s dog

  8. Larz says:

    Please pray with st Roch to cure Bella thank you

  9. KP says:

    I don’t remember how I came across St. Roch, but my dog was extremely sick recently and I prayed to St. Roch and in 2 days he was greatly improving. St. Roch has become an important Saint to me.

  10. Susan DeFanti says:

    I have just started working with a group that sends care packages to deployed servicemen & women, as well as Military Working Dogs. One of the soldiers wrote us today that his 3 dogs got out & ran away. Animal control was able to find 2 of them but by the time they got there, Paola (the dog) was gone! He’s very worried about finding his dog. He does not need this added stress while deployed! Please pray Paola is found safe & sound & returned to his roommates, that are caring for the dogs while he’s serving our country in Afghanistan. Thank you!

  11. Gretchen says:

    Hi Susan, please try praying for the intercession of St. Roch, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua that the lost dog will be found.

  12. Terry Cepeda says:

    I have a 5 months puppy that is very sick,her hair is falling and has trouble breathing.I took her to the vet.,but the treatment is about 2000dlls.please st.Roch help her heal..Amen

  13. Glenda says:

    I have been praying to St. Francis for my little morkie, Shiloh. I just recently learned that St. Roch is the Patron Saint of Dogs. I have started to pray to St. Roch also, but is there a prayer to him? I am praying to get Shiloh well and to get him home from the hospital. He is so loved by our family and is a very special dog. Thank you.

  14. Mary Ann Hamill says:

    I am researching St Rocco because I am going to a confirmation on 10/12 and the confirmed to be boy, Sean, loves dogs and, therefore, chose Rocco as confirmation name. I want to surprise him and have some hand-outs ready for the after party! Sean will love being able to discuss St Rocco with us, and we will have something to contribute with the hand-outs available.

  15. I researched St. Rocco because I am attending a confirmation on 10/12/13. The boy to be confirmed, Sean, loves dogs, and has chosen Rocco as his confirmation name. I am going to type up a hand-out, and Sean will love being able to, therefore, discuss St Rocco with us. With handout, we may even be able to teach Sean something about St Rocco not already known by him!

  16. mark patterson says:

    is there a particular prayer to St. Roch or any other saint for an ailing dog? and/or for when the dog will pass? Please and Thank you.

  17. Lilly says:

    Hi Susan u should pray to saint Justina. She is the patron saint of Padua . Praying to her will
    do u much good

  18. Rock Daze says:

    My name is Rock after St Roch.
    Roch is a popular boys name in southern France (Peter).
    We all got French middle names – I got the American spelling of Roch.
    He was a saint that the cloistered order of the Poor Clair’s had a devotion to ( I suspect from the plague period of the middle ages).

    So look to southern France for like named “Rochs”.

    Rock

  19. Laura Jean Ghostley says:

    Mary that is a wonderful idea! I have never seen that done before but that’s a great way to share Saint Roch with everyone!

  20. Michelle says:

    Please pray for our puppy Checkers. He has an infection in his neck, throat , jaw area. We’ve taken him to the emergency hospital and he was prescribed medication. Last night I prayed for him and rubbed holy oil on his swollen area, this morning my mom called me at work and said that fluid had burst through checkers neck and was draining fluids. I know God answered my prayers so I am praying to Saint Roch for continued healing for Checkers. Amen

  21. myna says:

    Pls pray for our dog Dukie. He became very weak because of kidney stones so she’s now confined. She is the sweetest dog and is loved so very dearly by the family.
    Have mercy St.Roch, and heal Dukie. Through you I pray, Jesus give back Dukie her strength and be home soon. Jesus, King of Mercy, pray for us!

  22. charles vreeland says:

    the parish in my hometown of flat rock, named the church St. Roch’s I live there, and attended in my youth. I am a dog person, 2 days ago I prayed for my Missy who was 13 who was in extreme pain even after her arthritis meds and pain pills. I asked St. Roch to please help her. She was suffering. within 2 hours she was suffering no more. now I am..I don’t practice but I start a rosary every night.”Oh Great Saint Roch, deliver us we beseech thee from the scourges of Man,and thru thine intersession, preserve our bodies from contagious diseases, and our soul from the contingon of sin. Obtain for us deliverance of fear, but above all purity of heart, assist us to make good use of our health to bear suffering with patience and after thy example, to live in a practice of penance and charity, so that one day we may enjoy the happiness that thou has merited by thy virtue saint roch, pray for us, st. roch pray for us, st roch pray for us. as I remember it..my Missy’s gone :(

  23. Lou says:

    My Father was born in the Parish of St Roch in Montreal. I cannot find that church in Montreal. Can anyone help me?? Sincerely, Lou

  24. Mary says:

    Hi Lou,

    Here is some contact information that I came across for a St. Roch French-speaking parish in Montreal: http://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/the-church-in-montreal/our-churches/our-parishes/paroisse/saint-roch.html.

    God bless,
    Mary

  25. Erlinda Ulep says:

    I’ve read all your request for St. Roch the Patron Saint for Dogs and I’m interested to know if there is a certain of special prayers for Dogs especially when they need healings too to what ever sickness they have. Kindly tell me where I could find the prayers? Thanks for your help.

  26. Mary says:

    Dear Erlinda,

    I have not come across prayers that are specifically for pets, but here is a prayer to St. Roch:

    Dear mendicant Pilgrim, you once took care of sufferers from the plague and were always ready to help others by kind service and fervent prayers. You yourself had no home and you died in a dungeon. No wonder countless invalids have confidently invoked your help. Please grant a cure to this patient, (Name), and help us all become spiritually healthy. Amen.

    Hope this helps!
    God bless,
    Mary

  27. beth says:

    My dog ran away. I immediately prayed to Saint Roch for intercession. He was safely returned to my home within a couple hours! Thank you Saint Roche. This is not the first time you helped me!

  28. aj jeane says:

    this was so useful for my homework and i have slowly became more and more interested in saint roch

  29. aj jeane says:

    what is saint roch’s dog’s name pls help me .

  30. roch ria says:

    hi! I am Roch from Philippines, I am a girl and I am glad to know that my name was taken from a saint

  31. Carolyn messino says:

    Please prAy for Cooper a bichon terrier my good friends family pet I am his sitter he has taken ill from eating something it has been 4 days now he’s on i Iva’s and not getting better please listen to my prayers thank u

  32. Roberto Nepomuceno says:

    Whats the name of the dog of st roch

  33. Gretchen says:

    Unfortunately tradition has not preserved the name of St. Roch’s dog.

  34. kevin says:

    My dog is a lovely boarder collie. He recently ran away, and I discovered that he was taking care of a woman who he had not known before. I actually gave the dog to her so that she would either be healed or die in peace. I miss him terribly and want him back home. I made a sacrifice that was too big for me. I need collective prayers to resolve the situation. Maybe the woman has a spirit of illness that cannot be handled by the dog and the dog is in danger.I don’t know. I only know that I am extremely sad and worried about him. Please pray so that the situatin can be resolved.

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