A random Facebook post led me to read up on Saint Roch, or Saint “Does this look infected?”, as I’ve been calling him since seeing his statue in a Paris museum.
Roch’s claim to fame was in a miracle escape from plague, assisted by a local mutt: …he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them… The cult of Roch gained momentum during the bubonic plague that passed through northern Italy in 1477-79.
I wonder how many of his acolytes hastened their own demise by attempting to heal buboes with dog slobber? Ah, religion!
I can forgive old Saint Icky-Wound, though, for this delightful tradition:
In Bolivia, Saint Roch’s day… is considered the “birthday of all dogs”, in which the dogs around town can be seen with colorful ribbons tied to them.
Little known (because I just made it up) fact: Attempting to put a birthday ribbon on a cat is how Saint Roch got his wound!