St. Roch was born at Montpellier France. His father was governor of that city. At his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross. When he was twenty years old, his parents were killed. Although left with their fortune and the government of Montpellier, he renounced his riches giving all the money to the poor. He handed over the governmental duties to an uncle. He felt an inner calling to proceed toward Italy. Disguise as a mendicant pilgrim, he set out on foot. Along the way, he encountered village after village stricken by the plague. Knowing then what his inner calling was about he began travelling from village to village staying in each for weeks at a time devoting himself to the plague-stricken and curing them with the healing power in his hands. He never feared for his own health or safety but lay his hands upon all he met and they were healed. He healed ailing cattle and other animals as well.
Saved by the Ministrations of a Dog
After a few years he himself was stricken with the plague. Not wanting to be a burden on society he withdrew to a wooded area outside of a village called Peacenza and waited for death to overtake him. As he lay at the brink of death a dog appeared and lay down beside him licking his wounds. The dog would periodically disappear and return with a morsel of food that he had collected from near by Peacenza. Although the dog was himself thin from starvation, he always lay the food gently on St. Rock's chest for him to eat. St. Rock soon recovered and was found by the dogs master who took him to a place of shelter. St. Roch then resumed healing the people in the plague stricken villages.