Invoked against Rabies and for Good Health
Feast Day: August 16
Rocco/Roch/Rock’s story took place long ago in the 1300s. Rock was born
into a life of privilege and wealth but lost his parents at a very early
age. Rock gave away everything he owned and went on a Pilgrimage to Rome.
It seemed like a plague was traveling with Rock, and he took care of the
sick throughout his journey. Rock went to Piacenza and it was there where
he was struck down and became very ill. Rock believed he was going to die
and went into the woods to pass away quietly. A dog befriended him and
brought Rock snacks from its master’s table. Rock eventually recovered and
returned to town.
Because he had lost so much weight from being frail and
sick, Rock was unrecognizable. He was put in a dungeon since he was
believed to be a spy. After his death, his cross-shaped birthmark was
discovered by his family and many mourned the mistake that had been made.
Rock had spent his final years in prison because of the mistaken belief
that he was a spy. In Europe, homeowners often put “VSR” on the front of
their doors. It was believed that writing the initials of “Viva Saint Rock”
would keep cholera away.
In art, Rock is usually shown with a dog at his
side, as he is on the Saints For Sinners hand-painted Saint Rock medal.