Friday, January 18, 2008

Saints on the Camino


There are many saints along the camino. One you will find regularly, in France and in Spain, is Saint Roch. He is depicted as a pilgrim, with a wound on his leg (sometimes the left, sometimes the right - sometimes the shin and sometimes the thigh) with a dog offering him food. This is his story:
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. Disguised as a mendicant pilgrim (a beggar), 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.
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 dog's master who took him to a place of shelter. St. Roch then resumed healing the people in the plague stricken villages. Returning to his home in Montpellier, St. Roch, still wearing his pilgrim clothing and physically changed because of his ordeal was thrown into jail by his own uncle where a few years later he died. After his death the cross on his chest that had been their since childhood and some documents found in his possession served to identify him. He was given a public funeral and the miracles continued long after his death.
If you walk the Via Turonensis you will pass through Le Muret. This little pilgrimage chapel in the woods was mentioned in the 12th Century. It has a wooden bass relief of the Saint as well as scallop shells carvings in the wood.


  1. I enjoyed reading this about St Roch. Take a look at my own brief accounts of two chapels dedicated to St Roch early on the Via Podensis.

  2. Hi Sil! So that's St. Roch? I thought (don't ask me why) that those were all statues of San Geronimo. Since I'm not Catholic, it's easy for me to get 'em all confused. Buen Camino!

  3. Hi amawalkerwalker!
    I love your site ama-walker-walker! It's wonderful. You must have had so much fun doing it. You have some exquisite photos and you even have a clock, visitors list and so on. I am very impressed as I still need to learn to do this all.

  4. Hello Ama-walker, I run into your site as I was reading the forum and I could´t help it but feel thrilled to see that you are from Durban, S.A. I walked the Camino Frances last year from April 24 to May 26, my first time and it was a wonderful experience, I even want to go back... but I also was in Durban in 2002. I ran the Comrades Ultra-marathon that year, unfortunately I had an accident during the event and I wasn´t able to finish the race, I had only 20 kms to go, however, it also was a wonderful experience and it will always be in my heart, that´s why I felt kind of connected with you... by the way, my name is Hortensia Gibbs and I am Mexican. I also am writing a blog of my memories in the Camino, but it is in Spanish and I still have a lot of work to do because I took more than 1000 pictures. If you would like to take a look, the link is:

    Buen Camino...