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Who Was Saint Roch (Patron Saint of Dogs)?


Saint Roch dogs

The painting "Saint Roch and the Angel" (17th century) by Claude Simpol

Public domain


Saint Roch


Around 1295 - 1327 in France, Spain, and Italy

Feast Day:

August 16th

Patron Saint Of:

Dogs, bachelors, surgeons, disabled people, and people who have been falsely accused of crimes

Famous Miracles:

Roch miraculously healed many of the bubonic plague victims for whom he was caring while they were ill, people reported.

After Roch contracted the deadly disease himself, he miraculously recovered through the loving care of a dog who helped him. The dog licked Roch's wounds often (each time, they healed more) and brought him food until he fully recovered. Because of this, Roch now serves as one of the patron saints of dogs.


Roch was born (with a red birthmark in the shape of a cross) to wealthy parents, and by the time he was 20 years old, both of them had died. He then distributed the fortune he inherited to the poor, and devoted his life to serving people in need.

As Roch traveled around ministering to people, he encountered many who were sick from the deadly bubonic plague. He reportedly cared for all the sick people he could, and miraculously healed many of them through his prayers, touch, and making the sign of the cross over them.

Roch himself eventually contracted the plague, and set off into some woods by himself to prepare die. But a count's hunting dog discovered him there, and when the dog licked Roch's wounds, they miraculously began to heal. The dog kept visiting Roch, licking his wounds and bringing him food. After a while, Roch completely recovered, and returned home.

Roch was mistaken for a spy after returning home, and imprisoned as a result. Reportedly, an angel cared for him during the five years that he languished in prison before he died.

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