Roch vs. Gertrude

“Are you a dog person or a cat person?” Not to get too philosophical on you, but this is one of the fundamental questions of human existence. A question that, had the Supreme Executive Committee in its infinite wisdom chosen the other Saint Gertrude (“of Nivelles” rather than “the Great”), could have perhaps been decided once and for all. You see today Roch, the patron saint of dogs, takes on Gertrude, the patron saint of…not cats but…the West Indies. Alas.

Of course, there are other criteria on which to base your decision as you seek to choose between a 14th century Frenchman and a 13th century German woman. Like whether you prefer cabernet to beer or croissants to pretzels. But enough of these European stereotypes!

Yesterday, in the most lopsided battle of the year, Joseph trounced Christina Rossetti, sending her into her personal “bleak midwinter,” 79% to 21%. He’ll face Absalom Jones in the Saintly Sixteen.

This is the last battle of the first full week of Lent Madness 2016. Save your voting energy, folks, and we’ll see you bright and early on Monday morning as Columba takes on Kateri Tekakwitha.


Roch (Rock in English) is known as the patron saint of dogs, falsely accused people, and plagues. Many legends surround the saint, who was born in 1350 in Montpellier, France, to a rich merchant family. According to one legend, God touched Roch at birth, leaving the mark of a red cross on his breast. Rejecting his father’s directive to become a governor of their town following his father’s death, Roch instead sold his possessions and began a pilgrimage to Italy. During his journey, he passed through a town stricken by the plague. Roch miraculously cured the inhabitants with touch and the sign of the cross. Unfortunately, he was unable to prevent himself from contracting the plague, and stories say he fled to the wilderness to die.

As Roch was lying in pain, a dog appeared to him in a clearing. The dog began licking his sores and nurturing him to health. A water source sprang up beside him. Popular iconography of Roch shows him afflicted with sores and a dog by his side.

When Roch healed, he returned home. Unfortunately, his uncle, the governor, did not recognize him and threw Roch in prison as a spy. For five years, Roch lived in the prison without revealing his identity. It was not until he died that people recognized him by the cross-shaped birthmark on his breast. Following his death, the people of the village wept and gnashed their teeth in loss and regret, and a group of followers of Roch sprang up in Montpellier. Seeing the popularity of Roch, the Roman Church built the Church of San Rocco in Venice and entombed his remains.

Collect for Roch
Merciful Jesus, you know our deepest sorrows and aches and offer us comfort through your love and companionship. Thank you for the ministry and miracles of your loyal servant, Roch, who sought to comfort the sick and infirm for the sake of your love. Create in us hearts full of compassion and love that we would be agents of your healing and love in a broken world. Amen.

— Anna Fitch Courie


Gertrude the Great (sometimes called Saint Gertrude of Helfta) was a late thirteenth-century German Benedictine nun, mystic, theologian, and writer.

Little is known of Gertrude’s early life except that she was born in 1256. She entered school at the monastery of St. Mary at Helfta at the young age of four. While some speculate that her parents offered her to the Church as a child oblate (a person dedicated to a life in God’s service), another theory is that she was an orphan. In the monastery school, Gertrude was under the care of Saint Mechtilde, the younger sister of the monastery’s abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn.

Gertrude joined the monastic community in 1266. Her later writing shows that she was well educated in rhetoric and Latin. Gertrude began to experience visions at the age of twenty-five. She shifted her study from the secular to focus on scripture and theology and devoted herself to a life of prayer and meditation. Wanting to share her experiences and dedication to God, Gertrude began writing spiritual treatises for her monastic sisters and became a spiritual counselor to whom people flocked for advice.

Gertrude produced numerous writings, although only a few survive today. The longest piece still in existence is The Herald of Divine Love. Partly written by Gertrude and partly written by other nuns, The Herald is composed of five books. Book Two, written by Gertrude, forms the core of the work. It includes vivid descriptions of Gertrude’s visions, including details on the veneration of Christ’s heart.

Gertrude died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony (Germany) around 1302. While Gertrude is now regarded as one of the great mystics of the thirteenth century, she was not broadly remembered after her death until the Latin edition of her work was published in 1536.

Collect for Gertrude
Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge, and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith. We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Gertrude, and we pray that by her teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

— Beth Lewis

Roch vs. Gertrude

  • Roch (53%, 3,640 Votes)
  • Gertrude (47%, 3,212 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,852

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Roch: By Francisco Ribalta –, Public Domain, Wiki Commons.
Gertrude: Icon by Theophilia.

273 Comments to "Roch vs. Gertrude"

  1. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    February 19, 2016 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    I voted Gertrude because she went to the church when she was four.

    • ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
      February 19, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

      You are right, Oliver, that shows a lot of dedication to God’s service. I voted for Roch though because he healed the sick. .

      • Joanie's Gravatar Joanie
        February 19, 2016 - 11:53 am | Permalink

        I voted for the dog lover.

        • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
          February 19, 2016 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Dog lover sealed it for me…:-)

          • Stephanie McDougal's Gravatar Stephanie McDougal
            February 19, 2016 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Me, too

          • Mary Lou Hauser's Gravatar Mary Lou Hauser
            February 19, 2016 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Me too!

        • Beverly's Gravatar Beverly
          February 19, 2016 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

          As a geology major way back when, I couldn’t not vote for a saint named Roche/Rock – however my cat may never forgive me.

        • Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
          February 19, 2016 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

          I love that a dog was by his side. Gotta go for the dog lover.

        • Sr Julian Sky's Gravatar Sr Julian Sky
          February 20, 2016 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

          I don’t understand why the DOG isnt a saint! Without the days g Roch would not have been around to do all he did!,, Also, I think we should name this poor dog…..wonder what the most common dog name was at that time?

    • Aunt Susie's Gravatar Aunt Susie
      February 19, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      Oliver, Susie here- I voted for Roch.

    • Christie's Gravatar Christie
      February 19, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      So many are suffering inside and out. Roch showed great mercy in a time of great fear. I love a good mystic, but I Roch the vote. Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.

    • Ms. Castle's Class's Gravatar Ms. Castle's Class
      February 19, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Oliver-My students and I love to read your comments each day. We are a 5th grade class in Louisiana.

    • Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
      February 19, 2016 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Very good thinking Oliver, but I voted for Rich because he helped heal the sick.

    • edward's Gravatar edward
      February 19, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      i voted for rich because he took care of people

    • edward's Gravatar edward
      February 19, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      i voted

    • edward's Gravatar edward
      February 19, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      i voted because i can

    • edward's Gravatar edward
      February 19, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      because i can

    • William's Gravatar William
      February 19, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      I also voted for Gertrude. By writing books, she left something for us to use even today! That was very thoughtful of her.

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      February 19, 2016 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I too voted for Gertrude. Although the post doesn’t say this, the Benedictine order is one of service and I’m sure she must have also spent time teaching.

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      February 19, 2016 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I also voted for Gertrude. I was moved by the story of Roch and I am a dog lover, but I spent some retreat time at a Benedictine monastery called St. Gertrude’s and the story of Gertrude is so much reflected in the ministry of the nuns at that monastery, that I had to vote for Gertrude.
      The nuns at St. Gertrude’s are primarily teachers and nurses, but the ministry of the monastery in spiritual direction and retreat offerings is certainly a reflection of St. Gertrude’s ministry.

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      February 19, 2016 - 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Once again, I’m right with you, Oliver. And I also voted for Gertrude because one of the women who taught me in high school was named Sister Gertrude and she was super-smart.

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        February 20, 2016 - 12:59 am | Permalink

        Gertrude also was very pretty – in the picture her soul shines through. She focused on the spiritual gifts rather than regretting all she missed while in the community. No Cinderella dreams for her! Come on late owls – vote Gertrude!

    • Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
      February 20, 2016 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      Why isn’t the faithful companion, Roch’s dog, the saint? Dogs are loyal to the end, living to please and serve their masters. Now, obedience is another matter…

  2. Gene Pagano's Gravatar Gene Pagano
    February 19, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Some readers may recognizes St. Roch by the Italian form of his name, Rocco, or Spanish form, Roque.

    • Gail's Gravatar Gail
      February 19, 2016 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Thank you so very much for “translating” his name. There is a church in my neighborhood, San Roque, with a statue of a man with a large dog over the entrance. I had no idea who it was. So nice to know now. Thank you!

  3. peter fluchere's Gravatar peter fluchere
    February 19, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Dogs, thanks. My daughters are cat people, I am a dog guy.
    Without, at the moment. I enjoy other people’s dogs. I also enjoy other people’s wisdom
    from their religion’s heritage. Be a Christian in a room of Jewish scholars. Fun!

  4. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 19, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    2 years ago we ambled by St Roch’s church in Venice and did not get the plague our entire trip, I mean pilgrimage, to Italy! Glory be and Roch on!

    • February 19, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

      WHERE IS THE LIKE BUTTON for this post!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        February 19, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

        apparently you found it

    • hope springs's Gravatar hope springs
      February 19, 2016 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

      St Roch is big in New Orleans, too – and they definitely know how to Roch!

  5. JennyR's Gravatar JennyR
    February 19, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    People wept and gnashed there teeth. I like teeth gnashing. I voted for Roch.

  6. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    February 19, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Roch – you had me at patron of dogs AND bad knees ( in addition to plague victims, falsely accused etc).

    • Josie A.'s Gravatar Josie A.
      February 19, 2016 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      I voted for Roch as well, but I’m wondering why they didn’t canonize his dog???

      • Anne's Gravatar Anne
        February 19, 2016 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Rosie! The dog needs canonization!

      • Sallie Hane's Gravatar Sallie Hane
        February 19, 2016 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Bio says nothing about his love for the dog, only mentions the dog caring for him!

  7. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 19, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Solidarity, Oliver! I voted for Gertrude, too. I love my dogs–definitely am a “dog person”–but the dogs licking his sores was just too much for me on an empty stomach. I’m going with bookish Gertrude. What an amazing woman!

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      February 19, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you SusanLee and Oliver. I am moved by the image of a tiny girl being brought up where she had no riches or freedom to travel or make pilgrimages. And yet she must have been surrounded by love, since she grew up to love and serve the Lord and to have a powerful desire to communicate her knowledge and experience of God to others Ina way that might survive her. She was indeed an amazing woman.

  8. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 19, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Although I’m a cat person, I voted for Roch. I’m always a sucker for saints who give up wealth and status to follow God’s call.

  9. JayWard's Gravatar JayWard
    February 19, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

  10. Sr Helena Barrett OSB's Gravatar Sr Helena Barrett OSB
    February 19, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    You have posted the info on Gertrude of Helfta (aka the Great) NOT Gertrude of Nivelles who was 7th c and Belgian. Very different people from very different times.

    • February 19, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      Exactly. That’s what we said in the intro.

      • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
        February 19, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

        It was easy to miss the elegantly fronted “had” in the intro. For a neat secular equivalent, see this quatrain from the Earl of Rochester: “Whene’er those wounding eyes, so full. Of sweetness you did see,. Had you not been profoundly dull,. You had gone mad like me. “

        • Sue's Gravatar Sue
          February 19, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

          Very true. I had to go back and re-read it twice before the elegance of the prose slapped me upside the head.

        • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
          February 19, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

          Sublime! A citation from John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester in a saintly debate!

        • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
          February 19, 2016 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

          I do think, though, that the construction with “had” isn’t so archaic that people shouldn’t be expected to understand it. It’s still heard now and then in contemporary speech.

          (In the interest of full disclosure, there are those who consider me a tiresome pedant.)

      • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
        February 19, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

        So today, we shall not ponder our Nivelles.

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          February 19, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

          Hahaha, Scott, that is priceless!! I will be chuckling all day with that. Thanks!

        • Carol B.'s Gravatar Carol B.
          February 19, 2016 - 11:09 am | Permalink

          I laughed out loud at that one.

        • Tammie's Gravatar Tammie
          February 19, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

          Definitely a laugh out loud comment – thanks be to God for clever wordplay!

          • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
            February 19, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

            Amen to that! Thank the Lord for wit and humor, without which life would
            be much less worth living.

        • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
          February 19, 2016 - 5:34 pm | Permalink


          • andrea's Gravatar andrea
            February 19, 2016 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

            Amen! I laughed too. Thank you Scott!

  11. Anne B's Gravatar Anne B
    February 19, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    After completing 4 years of EFM I have lots of repeat for mystics and theologians. I voted for Gertrude.

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      February 19, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

      As did I, Anne B. I’m a wandering mystic, myself, and have a spiritual sister/brotherhood with all others who contemplate the glory of God.

    • A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
      February 19, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

      …and it was in an EfM class that I met a wonderful saint of God, also a wise and well-read teacher and beautiful example of lifelong Christian faith, who originally hailed from the West Indies. In memory of saint E.L. of Antigua, and in the hope Gertrude makes it through so Beth can explain the Caribbean connection – voting for Gertrude today!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 19, 2016 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, what be EFM?

      • Michael Hartney's Gravatar Michael Hartney
        February 19, 2016 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

        EFM = Education for Ministry
        A three year intensive theological educational program for lay persons
        Ecumenical, though sponsored and administered by The Episcopal Church

        • Michael Hartney's Gravatar Michael Hartney
          February 19, 2016 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

          It is a four year program!

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          February 19, 2016 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

          I have my students for four years.

        • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
          February 19, 2016 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

          I met my future wife at EFM.

        • February 20, 2016 - 7:56 am | Permalink

          And it is almost everywhere. We do it in Australia and even on line. Yay EfM!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        February 19, 2016 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

        EfM is Education for Ministry which was devised and is supported by The University of the South. It’s distance learning for laity and hard but wonderful way to spend four years with nary a test in sight.

  12. February 19, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention that Roch is a Third Order Franciscan. His feast day is August 17 on our calendar.

    • Janet the Grateful's Gravatar Janet the Grateful
      February 19, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

      Oh man! Being a tertiary myself, now I feel guilty about not voting for him! But I’m a big fan of the women mystics, and Gertrude is a new one to me, so I voted for her. I’ll make it up to Roch on Aug 17th…

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 19, 2016 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t know that! Glad for the information. Thanks!

  13. Anne B's Gravatar Anne B
    February 19, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Respect! Darn autocorrect.

  14. Jackie's Gravatar Jackie
    February 19, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Having just gotten through a week of Hand Foot and Mouth with a toddler..I feel called to vote for the patron saint of plagues

    • February 19, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

      You have my deepest sympathy. I remember holding my daughter — now 17 and completely healthy — for almost a week as she drooled her way through Hand Foot Mouth. Ugh. Still, I voted for Gertrude. Roch seemed a bit odd, even for a saint.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 19, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      Bless your heart!

  15. Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
    February 19, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Card carrying cat person here – proudly owned by two rescue cats. Dogs are great – I enjoy other people’s. I voted for Gertrude because she became educated and wrote down her experiences of Christ in a time when women were often illiterate.

    • Claire's Gravatar Claire
      February 19, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

      Yes, yes! I, too, am a card carrying cat person. My 8 yr. old siamese and I rescued e each other last year.I love dogs, but cats are our purrfect. Gertrude accomplished an extraordinary amount of work through her own education, working with others, and her writings. Amazing for a woman who lived without benefit of word processors , microwaves, and electric lights, and in a time when women just didn’t do what she did. Go Gertrude!

  16. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 19, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I fear this will be a day of puns, but let me be the first: Rock on, Roch!

  17. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    February 19, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Went with San Roque because it was the name of my parish in El Salvador. It was the first I had ever heard of him. St. Gertrude was the name of our rival school in sports so….

  18. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    February 19, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    You had me at dogs. But Gertrude…

  19. February 19, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    As I live with a total of 180 pounds of dog (two big ones) I’m glad to know who to call on in times of stress. Voted for St. Roch.

  20. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    February 19, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    My aunt, Gertrude, is gravely ill and will probably return to God by this weekend. When I saw St. Gertrude, I almost wept. Aunt Gert was truly a good and faithful servant. Her daughter, Mary, has been an amazing example of daughterly love. As much as I love dogs, I love my Aunt Gert more. St. Gertrude has my vote!

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      February 19, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Peace to your family and may God give her an easy way home.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 19, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink


      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        February 19, 2016 - 1:35 pm | Permalink


    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 19, 2016 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Holding your aunt and you in my prayers today.

  21. Lithophyte's Gravatar Lithophyte
    February 19, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Another case of using a random number generator to get a decision & Gertrude u are the winner. Both of these saints are winners, it should be a vote to tie. Cheering for both

    • Carol B.'s Gravatar Carol B.
      February 19, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

      Have to agree. I was truly torn today. The healer who travelled to Italy for comfort OR the woman mystic and writer. I voted for Roch, but am still second-guessing.

  22. Charlyn's Gravatar Charlyn
    February 19, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Dog licking sores agree with Susan Lee. Thanks every time I look at a dog now I’ll think of Roch. It’s Gertrude on that alone. Not crazy about either of them .

  23. kristy's Gravatar kristy
    February 19, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    What is the connection to the West Indies?

  24. Jane C's Gravatar Jane C
    February 19, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Gertrude gets my vote. I love a woman who can’t resist giving advice. She was the Dear Abby of her day!

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      February 19, 2016 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

      There is an island: Santa Gertrudes. Don’t know which Gertrudes though.

  25. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    February 19, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    This is a super tough one. I love dogs, and personally I love the image of a dog healing a stranger by licking his wounds. The Saint as Healer, too, is compelling. Yet St. Gertrude was amazingly literate, left writings to inspire us, and shared her meditative regimen with others as a powerful path to God. What to do, what to do…

  26. Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
    February 19, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    my first head nurse was a saint; she was named Gertrude, she was from Germany, and was a nurse-midwife. What a role model! She taught me so much, and I am grateful for both her and her teachings. Go Gertrude!

  27. Denise E.'s Gravatar Denise E.
    February 19, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Although I’m a dog person…I’m not a single issue voter. I concur with Jane C – love advice giving Gertrude. She’s got my vote today.

  28. Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
    February 19, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Yes the dogs did it for me.

  29. February 19, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Having been falsely accused myself, I voted for Roch. I’m inspired by his ability to remain silent even though placed in such difficult circumstances.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 19, 2016 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Ann, Roch’s being patron saint of the falsely accused was a strong selling point. (I had that same experience myself but, fortunately, the judge recognized that the charge was frivolous. Still waiting for the end of the civil suit.) I hope that the Lord brings/has brought you safely through it.

      Roch’s being patron saint of dogs is good, too. I love dogs, although I currently have a cat in residence and am probably more of a cat person. (You can own a dog, but you cannot own a cat; the best you can hope for is what I call “mutual ownage.”)

      In the end, I voted for Gertrude. Most of what we know about Roch appears to be based on legend. With Gertrude, we at least have her writings. I respect mystics, although I am not one. Even though I was not familiar with her (or him), the claim that she was one of the greatest mystics of her century helped cinch my decision.

  30. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 19, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    I generally tend toward the Mystics, but Roch pulled me in with his care for the Plague victims!

  31. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 19, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    I am neither a dog nor a cat person–in my circumstances keeping a pet would be an act of animal cruelty–but I love the two forms of sainthood represented here: Roch drafted into sainthood by popular devotion (later, and perhaps reluctantly, recognized by “authorities”) and Gertrude, force fed learning and suddenly invested with the charism of visions. The Roch legends are clearly inspired by the Bible (for example the parable of Dives and Lazarus) and represent a different kind of formation by Scripture (like my fifth-grade Sunday School student of 50-odd years ago who, when asked to name a miracle of Jesus, volunteered, “He turned stones into bread.” That’s not what the text says, but it’s what the heart knows when His bread sustains us in the stony wilderness of our exile in the world. As I recall, I probably voted for Gertrude, but it has taken me a very long time to succeed in writing this Post. Neuropathy, like autocorrect, plays havoc with Comments!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 19, 2016 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks for persevering, John!

  32. Donna DevlinG's Gravatar Donna DevlinG
    February 19, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    The dogs are great, and tempted me but to sit in a prison for 5 years without telling your uncle who you are? Gertrude was no less uninspiring. I did vote however.

    • Anna Frost's Gravatar Anna Frost
      February 19, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      I agree. Seemed like senseless suffering to me.

    • February 19, 2016 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      I agree also. What good can a saint do for others if he’s locked up in prison? Seems a strange decision on his part.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 19, 2016 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        I also wonder at Roch’s silence. And the Bio didn’t help, offering no explanation as to why he kept quiet.

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      February 19, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t help wondering if his uncle knew who he was and didn’t want the competition to his authority. In that case, maybe Roch kept quiet to preserve peace. Pure speculation, probably based on my own overly suspicious mind. I voted for him anyway, because he cured the sick and allowed a dog to cure him.

    • Just me's Gravatar Just me
      February 19, 2016 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Rumor has it Roch didn’t tell who he was to avoid worldly glory

  33. songofjoy's Gravatar songofjoy
    February 19, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    This is a close one – But as a Martha, I usually end up voting for the doer rather than the thinker!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 19, 2016 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but that’s not to say Gertrude didn’t do anything, right? Thinkers and writers are doers, too!

  34. June's Gravatar June
    February 19, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Roch….animal lover, cool name, gave up his wealth, and as much as I love books as a librarian, those that serve others in the name of Christ always win me over.

  35. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    February 19, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Why on earth didn’t Roch just tell them who he was? Gertrude!

  36. February 19, 2016 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Once again, it seems to be a thinker vs. a doer. I stand on the Rock, for his service to plague victims. I have my doubts about dog saliva’s curative powers, but compared to some of the stories we heard about last year’s Saints, it’s downright sensible! Although, if Gertrude were around today, I might approach her for some counseling.

    • Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
      February 20, 2016 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

      You mean to tell me that all of those dogs, including my own, that lick their wounds, are wrong?

  37. Dianne Lawson's Gravatar Dianne Lawson
    February 19, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Just went and read some of Gertrude’s writings. Wow! Her adoration and awe sings across the centuries.

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      February 19, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Wait until we get to St. Denis and his act of preaching.

  38. February 19, 2016 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Patron of the falsely accused and an action of compassion that enters the pains of others rather than walls them off – Roch seems to be a saint for today. Gertrude would also be very tempting if I were at a different place in my own life.

  39. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 19, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Our two dogs are family, but being cured by dogs and enduring prison does not rank up with a life of service and writing that inspires generations. I go with Gertrude.

  40. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 19, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Once again, though there have been exceptions, I will go with the woman. It is so good to know there have been women in all ages that went against the norms of the day to be the person God meant for them to be. Women are and have been scholarly, excellent writers, and expressive. She also was so in tune with God in her life that she could see visions and write about them in a compelling way.

  41. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 19, 2016 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Pooh! I had recommended Gertrude the patron saint of cats to the SEC last year during nominating season. I am SO disappointed and respectfully request that she be in the 2017 bracket. But, since I don’t dislike dogs, I just like cats better, I voted for Roch–besides, the falsely accused need their very own patron saint and he fits the bill nicely. Can hardly wait for the kitsch round on this guy…I’m sure the “other” Gertrude was a nice lady but I must go and lick my wounds, since no dogs are evidence…

  42. February 19, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Jack the Dog, (see Facebook page) is quite clear this morning that if I do not vote for Rocco…then I run the risk of having a new birthmark on my chest…courtesy of Jack the Dog…so what can I say? Rocco! All the way!!!

    • Tom's Gravatar Tom
      February 19, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      Jack made you do it! Hope we will be getting a sermon on this.

  43. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 19, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I voted for Roch because I couldn’t find the “Dog” button.

  44. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    February 19, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Ah, so the first groupies were formed in Montpellier…

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      February 19, 2016 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Haha! Roch on!

  45. Mildred Rugger's Gravatar Mildred Rugger
    February 19, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    For the second day in a row, the Supreme Executive Council seems to have forgotten the results of the contest between Absalom Jones (82%) and Matthias (18%). While the last two contests have, indeed, been lopsided, I would like to see Absalom Jones’ achievement celebrated!

    • Carrie Thomas's Gravatar Carrie Thomas
      February 19, 2016 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      I also asked this question and am wondering why??

  46. Judy Austin's Gravatar Judy Austin
    February 19, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    There’s been a “Roch” magnet (purchased at a Benedictine abbey!) on our fridge for years, watching over the dogs who’ve been part of our family. So–Roch it is.

  47. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    February 19, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    It’s Roch, patron of dogs, for being the kind of person a dog would be drawn to. And for his courage and compassion in caring for plague victims. And for the saintly qualities that made his fellow villagers mourn him so int3ensely.

  48. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    February 19, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    The patron saint of dogs and plagues is a tough opponent, but a woman who pursued a well-rounded education in quiet service to God and others, and whose contributions were overlooked for a couple of centuries, seems a more likely story than that of the Roch, heartwarming though it may be. Gertrude gets my vote.

  49. linda's Gravatar linda
    February 19, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    “When Roch healed, he returned home. Unfortunately, his uncle, the governor, did not recognize him and threw Roch in prison as a spy. For five years, Roch lived in the prison without revealing his identity. It was not until he died that people recognized him by the cross-shaped birthmark on his breast.”
    IT AMAZES ME THAT HE DIDN’T SHOW HIS UNCLE THE SCAR. he got my vote anyway-there’s got to be more to that story….

  50. Mike Fox's Gravatar Mike Fox
    February 19, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Humans can only aspire to the saintliness of dogs. So, since I can’t vote for the dog, I’ll vote for Roch. By doing so, I am violating my rule of always voting for the Mystic, but…dogs.

    • February 19, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      Mike, you got me. Often and often I’ve watched a dog loving her ‘God on earth’ and wished I could display such devotion. To have your God incarnate before you always–how blessed is a happy dog! So, Roch.

  51. February 19, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Roch: First is was the dog thing, but then those great legs in the painting clenched it for me. 😉 LOL

    • February 19, 2016 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      That brought me a chuckle, too, but it was Gertrude for me today.

  52. February 19, 2016 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I liked both of these proposed saints, which, I suppose, puts me between a Roch and a hard place. However, when someone is the patron saint of dogs, plagues, and the falsely accused…that’s the person who gets my vote. Roch on into the weekend everyone!

  53. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    February 19, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    As a dog owner, I can’t not vote for Rocco!

  54. Hillary's Gravatar Hillary
    February 19, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Gertrude for me…can’t have too many good female spiritual directors!

  55. Peggy Pate's Gravatar Peggy Pate
    February 19, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Kudos to Gertrude. It’s a ruff choice, but upon this Roch I cast my vote! I canine tell a lie.

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 19, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Great one Peg! Made me laugh!

  56. Marie-Luise's Gravatar Marie-Luise
    February 19, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    As Gertrude comes from Soxony, like my Dad and, since I’m half saxonian too, she gets my vote!

  57. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 19, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    So Roch says to the dog, he says, “Heel!” And then later on, the dog says to Roch, he says, “Heal!”

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 19, 2016 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      P.S. Peggy Pate, you made me howl with laughter.

      • Donna DevlinG's Gravatar Donna DevlinG
        February 19, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

        SEC — your anticipation of puns out the wazoo was certainly correct.

        • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
          February 19, 2016 - 11:43 am | Permalink

          Yes, eventually the SEC will have to add a rimshot button to the site.

  58. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 19, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Speaking as one who had worked in law enforcement for a quarter-century, I couldn’t vote for anyone other than the patron of the falsely accused.

    Dude, you Roch!

  59. Maggie age 61 EfM grad's Gravatar Maggie age 61 EfM grad
    February 19, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I grew up with dogs and cats; only cats now. I voted for St. Roch because of the miraculous cures and because of the dogs.

  60. February 19, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    And how, may I ask, am I supposed to build evening prayer around today’s Lent Madness when neither Roch nor Gertrude are in Lesser Feasts, or Holy Men & Women or any other lectionary I can find with SCRIPTURES attached. Quick, I need scriptures for these Saints — lest we end up with the dog returning to it’s vomit.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      February 19, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Scriptures referring to people seeking counsel from older, wiser, holy people, such as David consulting the prophet or Mary consulting Elizabeth? (to go with Gertrude’s work in teaching and counseling) or many healing stories in the Bible?

      • February 20, 2016 - 12:18 am | Permalink

        Good thought, Lucy. I ended up checking out Friday in 1st week of Lent, and decided Psalm 130 felt Gertrude-ish. Used Ecc “Better a live Dog than a dead Lion” for the opening. Contemplated the Ezekiel 18:21-28 from the Friday in lent, which was reminiscent of dogs returning to vomit, thought about St. John the Baptist in jail, but as I drove up to the church, Luke’s “did not our hearts burn” from the two going to Emmaus felt right for Gertrude. During the Sermon time, one person suggested Hannah giving Samuel to Eli, and another suggested the even the dogs getting the crumbs from under the table. Good time had by all.
        Just for the record I voted for Gertrude. The icon blew me away: a book, a pen and a heart aflame, what else does anyone need? Well maybe more beautiful clothes. . .I went forth and bought a blouse.

  61. David Shaw's Gravatar David Shaw
    February 19, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Roch, Roch, Roch!

    • Maggie's Gravatar Maggie
      February 19, 2016 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      We will we will Roch you!

  62. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 19, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I like ’em both. I love dogs. But I am fascinated with the mystics and will need to go with Gertrude. Besides, why didn’t Roch just identify himself?

  63. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    February 19, 2016 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Roch. If for no other reason: the most, shall we say, bizarre Saintly Portrait to date.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      February 19, 2016 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Probably the most bizarre so far this year. But looking back, I think this pales next to Thecla and the pool of ravenous seals.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        February 19, 2016 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you there!

  64. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 19, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    According to this considerably less ridiculous sounding account … http://www.saintroccosfeast.Org/st_rocco.html … the dog brought him bread. But, whether it was saliva or bread or just love, I know what it feels like to be saved by a dog … and the Roch and I have a few other things in common, too. So… Roch on!

  65. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    February 19, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    In honor of a favorite statue at the Cloisters museum, I vote for Roch.

  66. Susan Hayes's Gravatar Susan Hayes
    February 19, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Roch seemed to be continually running and hiding from his fate, Gertrude with a deep and inquiring mind and spirit gets my vote.

  67. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    February 19, 2016 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Stanley, the almost 14-year-old Weimaraner, made it perfectly clear who I was to vote for today. What can I say, he owns me. Besides I tend to side with anyone who cares for the sick and picked on. Go Roch!

  68. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 19, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    This choice is not as tough as I first thought. Roch has my vote to move forward to the Saintly 16 because Julian of Norwich beat out my other Doer, William Wilberforce. Besides, my big brown-eyed dog Fitzy is staring at me.

  69. Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
    February 19, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Gertrude (lovely icon). Roch is showing a bit too much leg to claim saintliness. However I’m now in the doghouse with my faithful companion and she just trotted off with my iPad stylus.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 19, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink
  70. Pam H.'s Gravatar Pam H.
    February 19, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    I’ve been reading Gertrude’s “The Herald of Divine Love” in a seminary class on Women Mystics, and she is an amazing visionary! She loved God with a fiery passion and a deep desire for unity with the holy that is truly inspiring. Gertrude gets my vote.

  71. Donna DevlinG's Gravatar Donna DevlinG
    February 19, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Having loved several dogs dearly and deeply I can test to their healing powers. But, being also, a CCCP (Card Carrying Cat Person) I must speak to a healing which just took place — I stubbed my little toe and as I was screaming in agony, one of my cats, with a foot fetish, came and put his big soft head on the offended toe an then rolled his whole significant body over it and it felt ucg better. St. Ash.

    • Donna DevlinG's Gravatar Donna DevlinG
      February 19, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      that’s “much better, thank you.

  72. Carrie Thomas's Gravatar Carrie Thomas
    February 19, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Just wondering? Yesterday it was stated that Constance had won by the biggest margin yet this year, and now you are saying Joseph won by the biggest margin. What about Absalom Jones? Did he not win 82% to 18% for Matthias. I am very confused??

  73. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    February 19, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I love dogs, but I can’t figure out what Roch was or did to become a saint. So I voted for the mystic.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      February 19, 2016 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      He healed people sick of the plague and then got himself healed in turn by a dog.

  74. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 19, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Roch. Sorry, Oliver. what does a 10 year old know?

    • Donna DevlinG's Gravatar Donna DevlinG
      February 19, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Actually, 10 year olds are frequently more knowledgeable and astute than those of us who like to call ourselves adults.

      • linda's Gravatar linda
        February 20, 2016 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

        yes, they are. i have a 10 year old granddaughter who is smart as a whip. you Roch, Oliver! even though you voted for Gertrude…

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 19, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

      Excuse me?

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 19, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

        (Donna, my question was for Beth.)

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          February 19, 2016 - 11:24 am | Permalink

          I figured we were thinking along the same lines. Besides that, Oliver’s 8 years old.

  75. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    February 19, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    When I read ‘Patron Saint of Dogs’ I knew that my vote would have to go to Roch … however after reading about Gertrude’s accomplishments in education, at a time when that would have been well outside the norm, and her writings that have inspired down through the centuries, I voted for Gertrude. I love the icon of her with her book and pen.

  76. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 19, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    I was so torn on this one. I ended up looking up pictures of San Rocco in Venice and the Monastery of St. Mary’s, Helfta on the Internet and based my decision on which one I liked better. San Rocco is a stunning church building! So I voted for Roch.

  77. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    February 19, 2016 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Roch. Accused pesos and dogs have much in common. (imo, the CAT is usually the guilty party)

  78. Emory E.'s Gravatar Emory E.
    February 19, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Saint Roch AKA Rocco is also the patron saint of knee problems. He has certainly been a good intercessor for me.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 19, 2016 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Emory, that’s good to hear! I may try asking for his intercessions, although my problems are more back and neck than knee. Unless I find a patron saint for those, I guess I’ll see if Saint Roch is willing to branch out a little.

  79. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    February 19, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks the icon of St. Roch looks a little like Angelina Joli in her Oscar gown a couple of years ago? Although a dog lover through-and-through, I voted for Gertrude. I agree with Oliver… she went to church when she was 4!

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      February 19, 2016 - 12:09 pm | Permalink


  80. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 19, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Gertrude the Great. Mystic, writer, spiritual counselor plus such a lovely icon! The dogs almost had me, but why would Roch not identify himself to his Uncle for five years? Gertrude had strong gifts.

  81. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    February 19, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Rock gets my vote today, not so much for himself as for one of his namesakes, a Cistercian monk who taught me theology at the University of Dallas many years ago.

  82. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    February 19, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Dogs’ eagerness to inflict slobbery licks is one of the reasons I prefer to hang with cats (at least if a cat licks you–and why would it?–it would be a dry lick). At the same time, I am feeling particularly ache-y today, so almost voted for Roque. In the end, literacy for women won out. Go Gertrude!

  83. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    February 19, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Gertrude gets my vote. My grandmother was named after her; she was no mystic but a very wise woman.

  84. Laureli's Gravatar Laureli
    February 19, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    went with Roch on this one. Just liked his desire to help the people and the Dog taking care of him is great too. My dog likes to take care of me. not much for mystics sorry

  85. Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
    February 19, 2016 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    Roch (Roque/Rocco) started out well, healing the sick by invoking God. And the dog story is appealing. However, what did he do in prison? Was he ministering to his fellow prisoners? Did he remain because he was doing God’s work there?

    Comparing the work of the two I feel that Gertrude accomplished more than Roch did and so I vote for Gertrude.

  86. Corry's Gravatar Corry
    February 19, 2016 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    I love my dog, and have a fine friendship with Jean-Roch, a French veterinarian, but I had to vote for Gertrude. Where would I be without my spiritual friends and advisors, and the writings of so many Christians who have gone before?

  87. Nyc's Gravatar Nyc
    February 19, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I voted for Gertrude. Neither of these saints jumped and grabbed me but when I was a kid one of my mother’s best friends was/is named Gertrude so the old girl got my vote.

  88. Laura R.'s Gravatar Laura R.
    February 19, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Gertrude.
    I couldn’t get past the fact that Roch just sat in jail and didn’t reveal his identity. Why not? What did that accomplish? How many good works were missed?

  89. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    February 19, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    Although I did not find this an easy contest, I did vote for Roch. In reading the comments, I’m impressed by how many dog lovers voted for the dog saint, when on Tuesday the coffee lovers gave Drogo a pass. I was sure he would win handily, especially since coffee is one of the SEC’s main sacraments. Oh well. I do like dogs much better than I like coffee, so I’m not complaining. I just find it interesting.

  90. Corey's Gravatar Corey
    February 19, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    I had never heard of Saint Roch before. I was pleasantly surprised during my Fat Tuesday bracket party to discover that I was VERY familiar with him as Saint Rocco! My “home” parish, St. James, had merged with the neighboring St. Rocco’s (a strange patron for an Episcopal parish, I know, but the neighborhood was incredibly Italian).

    My very first time worshipping at an Episcopal church I had been invited by the priest to provide music for the liturgy. I was set up in the trancept right in front of the statue of Saint Rocco (and his dog).

    As I was discovering the Episcopal Church, I attended morning prayer weekly in the same trancept. And when I graduated with a degree in music I gave my senior recital in the same place.

    Even though I’m not a dog person, not do I have even a drop of Italian in me, I see Rocco as something of a patron saint for me. So even if “Roch” is a silly version of his name, he’s got my vote.

  91. Diane Hayes's Gravatar Diane Hayes
    February 19, 2016 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    I am a dog person (and really allergic to cats!). My Grandmother was Gertrude, I speak German, and thus I must give my “Ja!” to St. Gertrude the Great. Some days that’s the best sort of logic I can muster.

  92. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    February 19, 2016 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    I voted for Roch because my dog is sick. Here’s hoping the healing can go the other way, too….

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 19, 2016 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Trust your dog is better soon!

      • Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
        February 20, 2016 - 5:35 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Ellen.

  93. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    February 19, 2016 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    My dogs said I had to vote for Roch.

  94. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 19, 2016 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I wonder if I were as faithful to God as my little dog is to me would God tell me (in a high squeaky voice) what a good little person I am? Nonetheless I voted for Gertrude.

  95. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 19, 2016 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I think today’s bloggers had to really dig deep. I could only generate enthusiasm for Gertrude because my father’s sister was named Gertrude….However, too little was known in my estimation whereas we know quite a bit about Roch…I guess dog spit isn’t the worst cure for plague sores. After all, Linus was always kissing Lucy in PEANUTS and she survived although she was still a juvenile tyrant. So Roch who healed and then was quite unjustly imprisoned gets my vote today with hopes for something more uplifting Monday morning bright and early…OK, Monday bloggers?

  96. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 19, 2016 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    had to go with the dogs…

  97. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    February 19, 2016 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    With three dogs sitting next to my breakfast table, I had to vote for rough, lest they feel insulted. Actually it was a hard choice so I had to use a silly reason to make up my mind.

  98. Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
    February 19, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Gertrude! A mystic and early spiritual guide!

  99. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    February 19, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    healing the sick, healed by a dog, patron saint for falsely accused…all very noble. However; it was the artwork that bowled me over! A substantial amount of skin displayed for the time era of 1350 combined with that side long glance that seems to say “vote for me”.

  100. Rod's Gravatar Rod
    February 19, 2016 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Gert – LOVE dogs, have had many but, why the heck didn’t Roch say something during his 5 LONG years of imprisonment??? What a waste of time that was!

  101. Fr. Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr. Bill Loring
    February 19, 2016 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    As a Benedictine confrater it had to be Gertrude — and this was just fine with our cat!

  102. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    February 19, 2016 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    How could one fail to vote for a man named “The Rock”? Maybe not too bright to sit in a cell for5 years without divulging his name, but he was clearly marked (red cross) for greatness. He was a doer, heals the sick, loves dogs and is saved by one. Also remember that the Supreme Executive “rocks.”

  103. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 19, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Roch has a compelling story, but I’m puzzled why he didn’t reveal his identity to secure his release. Was he healing and converting prisoners? Perhaps we’ll never know.

    Female mystics nearly always get my vote, though. I find that kind of devotion really speaks to my heart. I’m rather far too worldly to be a mystic myself, but perhaps in another life. So Gertrude it is!

  104. February 19, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Gertrude because the things she did and wrote inspired me. I can only think that Roch at this moment is winning because the dog lovers are voting for him. (Where is a good patron saint of cats when we need one?)

  105. Kelley the Presbygeek's Gravatar Kelley the Presbygeek
    February 19, 2016 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    As a Public Defender, Roch had me at patron saint of the wrongfully accused.

  106. jane fenicle's Gravatar jane fenicle
    February 19, 2016 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m with saucy CC (Carolyn is that you?) The dog, the leg, the compassion, the silent suffering (hence the gnashing of teeth and the ground roots surge for sainthood) Julian and Gertrude should have been pitted against each other.

  107. Lois Davis's Gravatar Lois Davis
    February 19, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t particularly inspired by either choice. I would rather have voted for the dog who healed Roch’s wounds! Since I couldn’t, I voted for Roch and also enjoyed the amount of leg showing in the artwork.

  108. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 19, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Roch’s leg and handsome face
    drew my attention,
    but the lovely Gertrude won my vote
    with her erudition,
    and her counseling skills.
    (it didn’t hurt that my husband’s mother was named Gertrude.)

  109. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 19, 2016 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Glad to finally discover the story behind São Roque, a name with which I became familiar while living in Lisbon. Dog lover though I am, I admire Gertrude’s work as a counselor, theologian and writer. She left a lasting contribution and gets my vote today.

  110. Danielle's Gravatar Danielle
    February 19, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Are there a lot of Martha/Mary pairings this year? Or does it just seem so to me? Gertrude sees visions and writes about them. Roch serves the ill and suffers because of it. And then suffers again because he will not speak who he is.

  111. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 19, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I voted for St. Gertrude in honor of my great aunt who shared her name. Also, I’m allergic to dogs.

  112. MaryAlice's Gravatar MaryAlice
    February 19, 2016 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I voted for education, especially of young women in places and eras where education is not common.

  113. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 19, 2016 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for a much favored saint from my childhood, St. ROCH! Even the sisters who taught us to say this (in my mind “magic” small prayer), didn’t know really anything about his life other than that he was a great healer. Well, I’m 67 amd still use this prayer. “ST. ROCH, pray for us and keep us well.” (3X)

    The picture of him looks like he’s showing his leg like a dancer. There are many images of Roch, his wound, and dog caregiver. I just saw a great one yesterday as I was researching that match up. I must say that the icon of Gertrude today though, is stunning!

  114. Carol Boyle's Gravatar Carol Boyle
    February 19, 2016 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Roch, though it was a hard choice (no pun intended). At first I was put off wondering why he stayed in prison. But my guess is, judging from his past behavior, that he saw a need there and stayed to take care of the prisoners. He likely saw that they were mostly poor or outspoken victims of an unjust political and prison system. Very much a saint for today.

  115. Lillie Hardingham's Gravatar Lillie Hardingham
    February 19, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    After reading all these comments, something is niggling away at me- so I would just like to point out that the bio for Gertrude says she entered SCHOOL in the monastery when she was 4 because she was either given by her parents, or because there was no where else for her, as she was an orphan. How do you get “she went to church” out of that?

  116. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 19, 2016 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Gertrude seemed like the obvious choice to me. Roch may have been a holy man (for all we know) and certainly he has been the object of a very widespread cult (still popular here in Mexico), but almost everything in his story is pure legend. Gertrude has left us writings about her mystical visions which still inspire and teach us, as do the writings of all those wonderful medieval mystics, so many of them women who overcame many obstacles to be influential leaders in a church which mostly tried to deny them that opportunity. So go, Gertrude–the Great!

  117. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    February 19, 2016 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I almost always find myself drawn to the saints who have documentation rather than legend as their story today, and this is no exception. But I wonder where my faith is placed given my own life experiences. I ought to pray more before voting, and will in the future

  118. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 19, 2016 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Another mystic. Big year for mystics. I’d never even heard of Gertrude. Although I’m a dog person, Roch doesn’t seem to have much connection with dogs aside from being healed by one, and he doesn’t seem to have paid much attention to them after he was healed, so I’m going with the mystic again.

  119. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank's Gravatar Susan Mulledy-DeFrank
    February 19, 2016 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    For me the highest level of Grace is when someone serves the sick and poor putting their own life on the line. That is why I chose Roch .

  120. JP's Gravatar JP
    February 19, 2016 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    IT isn’t so much that Roch loved dogs, it’s that he was loved by the dogs. Why else would they search him out, help him heal, and stay lovingly with him. He chose the better path from youth – following the St Francis path of giving up riches and seeking God in the poor and sick.

  121. Steve Caldwell's Gravatar Steve Caldwell
    February 19, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Have had dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, ducks, a couple of parakeets and who knows what else for as long as I can remember! My first dog was named “Floppy”, a cocker spaniel. (Had chickens, too, but not as pets…and even though I was the one who fed them, they pecked at me when I collected their eggs…ungrateful birds!)

    Had to go with Roch in honor of Angel, Devuska (Russian for “dog”, spelling uncertain), and Daisy. the canines who, along with their mistress, currently rule our home.

  122. David's Gravatar David
    February 19, 2016 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Of course, as a Vermonter I had to vote for Roch. The write-up said followers gathered in Montpellier after his death. Just continuing the tradition. Oh, THAT OTHER Montpellier!

  123. CC's Gravatar CC
    February 19, 2016 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

    A toss up for me, a dog lover, but the mantra in my family is, “if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain”.

  124. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    February 19, 2016 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Though my middle name at baptism was LaRoche, I voted for Gertrude. Benedictine mystic trumps dog-lover for me. Nice doggie, peculiar story. And he’s busted my bracket, too. Bummer.

  125. February 19, 2016 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    So wait. The guy who was given a miraculous healing and then used it to sit in prison without revealing his identity until he died…he’s more of a doer than someone who counseled and taught and wrote?

    If the “thinkers” who write and teach are not also doers, then we are essentially also leaving out all those who wrote the scriptures, and the biographies of these saints, and theological and devotional works, and sermons and prayers, and this website.

    I’m sensing a false dichotomy….

    This “thinker” (who writes and preaches and teaches and prays) votes for Gertrude, a (rare) well educated medieval woman who wrote and taught and counseled, even though she isn’t the cat lady I was hoping she would be. 🙂

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      February 20, 2016 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Excellent points, Teri!

      • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
        February 20, 2016 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear! I’d hate to have to tell all my writer, teacher, clergy and researcher friends that we have all done nothing with our lives, and nothing for anyone else, either. They were both doers!

  126. February 19, 2016 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I voted for St Roch. Not only did I go to St Roch church as a child but I liked the way he healed the sick like Jesus did.

  127. February 19, 2016 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I love dogs but I love counselors and teachers and writers more. Plus, my mother-in-law’s name is Gertrude, and she was so darn nice to me that Gertrude gets my vote. When I once ooked the worst casserole in the world, she struggled hard for something kind to say. And finally, she came up with it: “Why, it’s very warm, very warm.” What a gem. Gertrude gets my vote.

  128. Jeanie's Gravatar Jeanie
    February 19, 2016 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Gertrude. As great as a woman who proceeded her – Hildegard of Bingen – women just weren’t encouraged to be educated teachers in their eras. She was perhaps also the last in a long line of children in her home and given to the Church as a way of lessening the burden on the family. Either way, she accomplished much more that was to be expected of a young woman in her circumstances.

  129. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    February 19, 2016 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Gotta be Roch. First of all, patron saint of DOGS! Then there’s the incredibly cool name, Roch! And his story has so much drama – ministering to the sick, falsely accused and imprisoned. An inspiring story.

  130. Russ's Gravatar Russ
    February 19, 2016 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Having worked with therapy dogs for many years I can attest to their healing presence. One of my dogs “helps” during healing prayer and I frequently see the delight in the eyes of people who bo not or cannot have pets when they sit with him before, after, or sometimes during the service.

  131. Bea Fosmire's Gravatar Bea Fosmire
    February 19, 2016 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Our faithful, loving companion for over 13 years died last week. Sadie, our beautiful Golden Retriever, has licked many of our wounds over the years and helped heal some broken hearts. Just like a dog to show up when someone needs a “licking” friend! In memory of Sadie, my vote goes for Roch.

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 19, 2016 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 19, 2016 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

      I am so sorry for your loss. I knew two magnificent Goldens and still morne their loss.

  132. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 19, 2016 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Roch, not least because of the lovely children’s book, ‘A dog and his boy’, which involves a monastery dedicated to St Roch at which guide dog puppies are bred.

  133. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 19, 2016 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Today’s holy collision gives us a chance to pursue a discussion, taken up yesterday by a statement that the person of Joseph was wholly fictional and therefore halo-ineligible, of the place, if any, of legend in our 21st-century faith. Roch’s biographer has provided a coherent account that includes many events that smack of, ahem, fancy; but, if one credits the saint’s impressively documented Wikipedia article, there are discrepant versions of where and when those events took place. To fully appreciate the riot of confusion in the reported lives of Roch and other saints, refer to his article and follow the copious links where they may lead.

    One eminently reasonable approach to such tales, taken by yesterday’s gadfly, is wholly to reject them out of what might be unkindly called “rational fundamentalism.” Another, taken by today’s biographer, is to try to syncretize them by using various techniques to resolve points of conflict. A third, reasonable or not depending on one’s point of view, is simply to accept all the stories for the truth they contain and the insights they afford.

    I’d suggest that this last is closer to what was in the mind of the people who wrote them down, altered, embroidered and embellished them, and used them as a means of drawing nearer to God. Surely they could tell fact from fiction, but they seem not to have needed to make such distinctions in every case. That does make it difficult for us, living as we do in the Twenty-first Century and not the Eleventh, to succeed in getting into their heads.

    So though I feel deeply drawn to Gertrude, and far more secure in my knowledge of her existence and achievements, today my vote goes to Roch (known in Glasgow as “St. Rockle” in a putative conflation of “Roch’s Loch,” I love it) in celebration of his richly inspiring life stories, fantastic in every sense of the word.

  134. Aimiliona's Gravatar Aimiliona
    February 19, 2016 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    My dogs believe that St. Roch covers the street with garbage cans every Wednesday for all good puppies.

  135. Nancy R's Gravatar Nancy R
    February 19, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    No choice — my grandmother was Gertrude.

  136. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 19, 2016 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Peg S., you’re brilliant.
    Another easy choice for me.I chose to try to be a healer for my occupation. How could I not vote for a man who healed people with the plague and had the perfect relationship with a dog, Roch’s best friend. Yersinia pestis, you’ve been bested!

  137. February 19, 2016 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    So… my mother and grandmother were both Gertrude’s… And German mystics… like Hildegard of Bingen… bring a lot to the table. No brainer here.

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 19, 2016 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Len, you mean that Chippendale poster picture of a quite well fed prisoner with the come hither look didnt move you to vote for him? Hahaha.

  138. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    February 19, 2016 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Gnashing of teeth! My vote to St. Roch for that alone!

  139. Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
    February 19, 2016 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Despite being a totally committed dog lover, I voted for St. Gertrude in fond memory of my best teacher ever, Sr. Ste. Gertrude. She was a strong woman with the gift to inspire her students in many subjects, especially the physical sciences. But it was in a World Lit class in the late 50s when she stunned her good little Catholic high school freshmen while trying to get us to pronounce Goethe: “…you know, a bit like what you call me behind my back.” This was north of Boston, and of course the R was not pronounced in Gertie. May she rest in peace and rise in glory!

  140. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    February 19, 2016 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Our family are dog lovers and have a wonderful dog named Hershey…
    However, Most didn’t know that Our Lord dictated a prayer to St Gertrude the Great to release 1,000 souls from Purgatory ea time it is said….
    Have been praying the prayer for years
    so my vote was for Gertrude..u can Google the prayer

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 19, 2016 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I thought purgatory didn’t exist any more.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 20, 2016 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

        I personally don’t believe in Purgatory, but it is the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and many Anglo-Catholics believe in it as well.

  141. sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar sarah- 15 years old
    February 19, 2016 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    As a dog loving person I have to go with Roch. I really like how even though he go the plague he did the right thing by running away from the area of crises. I also like how the dog licked his sores and healed him back to life.
    A true work of god!!!

  142. Jean Marie's Gravatar Jean Marie
    February 19, 2016 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote Roch because I love my dog and I have a dear family member who was falsely accused of a crime. But may all our saints help us and bless us.

  143. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 19, 2016 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Love dogs…love mystics. Hard choice today for me. Either way I win.

  144. Tricia's Gravatar Tricia
    February 19, 2016 - 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I have to go with Gertrude on this one. Who doesn’t love a woman schooled in Latin and rhetoric.

  145. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 19, 2016 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I voted for St. Roch. Healing the sick during the plague and the patron saint of dogs. Also in honor of the St. Roch Football Club (“the Candy Rock”) in Glasgow, Scotland. And I love Roch ‘n’ Roll! *hums tune*

  146. Madame Senora's Gravatar Madame Senora
    February 19, 2016 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I suppose I am required to identify myself as a cat person before proceeding, but that said, I voted for St. Roch because he is the patron of the falsely accused, and more than most, they need all the support they can get.

  147. Peter Jensen's Gravatar Peter Jensen
    February 19, 2016 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

    The combination selected here leads me to contemplate “mystical dogs,” of which I have had in my lifetime. I now wonder if they were guided by Roch? Then I will also comment that we must be careful that our supreme leaders are not sending us to the to the ___s. I am grateful for today’s enlightenment.

  148. Bill Pyatt's Gravatar Bill Pyatt
    February 19, 2016 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Women and Latin studies trumps a a dog tale.

  149. Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
    February 19, 2016 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I was impressed by a woman scholar and writer who knew Latin so well. However, I had to vote for Saint Roch because he was a healer…and because he was healed by a DOG! I am a dog-lover, like many voters here. But why, when he was imprisoned, apparently because of a misunderstanding, didn’t he reveal his identity. That doesn’t make sense to me.

  150. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 19, 2016 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Though I admire St. Roch, I cannot believe that he is beating out the ONLY female saint to earn the designation “The Great.” I voted for her as a representative of all the great Christian scholars, teachers, philosophers, clergy, faith leaders and intermediaries on behalf of souls in Purgatory whose accomplishments have gone unrecognized because of their sex.

    • linda's Gravatar linda
      February 20, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      what? purgatory is a man made “place”

      • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
        February 20, 2016 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Regardless of whether you feel purgatory is Purgatory or purgatory and whether it is on earth or in the afterlife, this is a beautiful concept, worthy of a saintly doer: “The Prayer of St. Gertrude … is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great … was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. According to tradition, our Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly. –

  151. DORIS V.'s Gravatar DORIS V.
    February 19, 2016 - 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Gee looks like Oliver is picking all the losers. Roch is winning on this one too.

  152. J A Reyes's Gravatar J A Reyes
    February 19, 2016 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Dog lovers unite and vote for Roch!

  153. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    February 19, 2016 - 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I was at first inclined to vote for the dog lover, Roch, as I do love our furry canine friends. But…my mother’s name was Gertrude, a name she didn’t really like. I miss my mother every day. Gertrude got my vote today.

  154. Linda B's Gravatar Linda B
    February 19, 2016 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

    For the times growing up, when Mom would get on me, for letting our beagle “Snuffy” lick at a sore. I’d reply that “dog spit kills germs!” Boy, do I wish I had known the St Roche story back then…I would have added that dog spit is holy!

  155. Robert C's Gravatar Robert C
    February 19, 2016 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Gertrude belongs with Julian of Norwich, Evelyn Underwood, Blessed Catherine Emmerich and many other great mystic women. We need to celebrate and affirm the feminine principle in Christian spirituality. With all our superficial talk of “affirmation” and “inclusion” with silly emasculated liturgical language, we still defer almost exclusively to male theologians. I never heard of Roch before. His story sounds like a lot of incredible medieval “miracles” which were all made up after his death.

  156. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    February 19, 2016 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

    I think that this would have been much more interesting if it *had* been St. Gertrude of Nivelles. Then it would have been dog lovers vs. cat lovers, and our household would have made six votes for St. G of N. (Does it count as multiple voting from the same e-mail if that votes being registered are those of cats?)

  157. February 19, 2016 - 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Gertrude sounds very worthy, but the patron saint of dogs has my vote – just so he will intercede on behalf of my four-legged family members.

  158. Heather Sanderson's Gravatar Heather Sanderson
    February 19, 2016 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Benedictine. Mystic. Gertrude.

  159. Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
    February 20, 2016 - 12:38 am | Permalink

    I voted for Roch, partly because I’d never heard of him. I loved the miracle stories, and I like dogs! Hard to choose, as usual.

  160. MLM in NJ's Gravatar MLM in NJ
    February 20, 2016 - 5:10 am | Permalink

    My family has had multiple dogs- and a few cats, including my calico Quilt- but this story of Roch makes little sense to me. He stopped to help the sick, caught the plague and went off to die, but didn’t. What else did he do that was saintly? Remain in prison for 5 years without revealing his birthmark which would prove his identity? Sounds like another, paler version of St. Francis, if all he had was a dog healing him. I vote for St. Gertrude, who may not have been wanted by her family but was certainly wanted and blessed by God, as she proved by receiving (and using) the gift of an education. In her time, that was a rare gift indeed for a woman.

  161. Amy Jane's Gravatar Amy Jane
    February 20, 2016 - 6:25 am | Permalink

    Who knows where Roch was on his walk with God when he was in jail? What facets of God he was exposed to or what faces of Christ were revealed in his fellow captives? What is the difference between being free or in jail, between praying for the sick, oppressed and/or captive every week? Why not stay in jail? Maybe being in jail was a way to minister or be ministered to.

    Not writing this too clearly, but it’s been on my heart this night.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 20, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      Those are lovely, original thoughts. After all, now that you mention it, many of the great mystics found peace in cells. Like them, Roch may have held the key to his own.

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      February 20, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      What an excellent point! Being in prison didn’t necessarily mean that Roch was all by himself in a cell for five years. He may well have been helping and ministering to his fellow inmates. It’s a sensible explanation for why he didn’t reveal his identity. It’s consistent with his selfless and noble character as portrayed in the other stories about him.

  162. beachcomberT's Gravatar beachcomberT
    February 20, 2016 - 7:33 am | Permalink

    My vote is with Roch and the many, many people who languish in American prisons, some of them unjustly convicted. At Lent, we should give extra attention to our broken criminal justice system and how we ended up incarcerating millions even as our crime rates improve.

  163. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 20, 2016 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    It’s too late to vote, but I’ll comment anyway. Both saints were exemplary humans, and the dog who licked St. Roch’s wounds deserves a shout out as well.

  164. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 20, 2016 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Correction: sores instead of wounds. Dogs don’t care; they just love us however they find us.

Comments are closed.