How are signs of grace awarded at AKTU

Saint Roch

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Pilgrim dress, pilgrim staff and pumpkin bottle identify the saint as a patron of being on the road, the road. And indeed, for a long time of his life, St. Roch was at home on the streets of the world, a friend of nature who was "on the roll" especially in Italy. He is counted among the 14 helpers in need.

In the pictures there is usually a dog accompanied by St. Rochus, a loyal companion especially in the difficult years of his life.

Saint Roch comes from Montpellier, where he was probably born in 1295. According to legend, the parents discovered a red cross on his skin when he was born, which was interpreted as a special sign of grace. He lost his father and mother at an early age. On his deathbed, his father warned him not to be blinded by the splendor of this world, and so Rochus gave away his fortune to the poor and needy. He took the pilgrim's staff and crossed the Alps towards Rome. At night he slept in simple hospices, he begged for bread on the street.

When Rochus came to Lombardy, he heard about the Black Death, the plague that had already carried away many people. While the inhabitants of the cities fled, St. Roch visited the sick, cared for them, gave them medicine and washed their wounds. Everywhere on the way to Rome he offered his services, kept vigil, and prayed with the dying.

On the way back he fell ill with the plague himself in Piacenza. But nobody came to help him. On the contrary: the townspeople insulted him and would have loved to chase him out of town. Saint Rochus crept into the forest, where he found a remote hut. Alone and lonely he lay there on a bunch of straw and waited for his last hour. But God sent an angel to care for his wounds, and every day a strange dog appeared with a piece of bread in its mouth. Next to the hut rose a spring from which the sick man could quench his agonizing thirst.

The dog belonged to a nobleman. He was surprised because the animal disappeared at a certain time every day. He followed him and found the saint feverishly on his straw bin. He then took the sick man back to his house, cared for and nursed him until he was well again.

Rochus statue in St. Marien Church
When St. Rochus returned home after a long pilgrimage, the people did not recognize him, so much had the plague disfigured him. Since the war was going on and he was believed to be a spy, he was thrown in prison. He was innocent in prison for five years. Rochus felt his end was approaching and asked for pastoral assistance. The priest saw that the cell in which Rochus lived was filled with brilliant light. He administered the sacraments to the prisoner. He then hurried to the magistrate to report what he had seen. When it became known in the city what the priest had seen, everyone rushed to the prison. Saint Rochus was sprawled dead on the floor and was surrounded by a bright glow. Now the crowd realized that an innocent man had died in prison. They buried his body with great solemnity in the church. That happened in 1327.

Some of the saint's relics were transferred to Venice in 1485. The veneration of Saint Roch quickly spread, especially since the Council of Constance officially recognized his cult. Brotherhoods of his name were formed, and numerous monasteries and churches, hospitals and chapels chose him as their patron saint. Goethe once described the pilgrimage festival on the Rochusberg near Bingen. The saint's intercession was invoked against plague, cholera, epidemics, foot ailments, ulcers and knee pain, but also against rabies, cattle diseases and general misfortune. Saint Roch is the patron saint of doctors, especially surgeons, pharmacists, farmers, prisoners and grave diggers. His festival is on August 16th.

(H. Multhaupt. In: Der Dom, No. 31 August 5, 1990, p. 15)

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