Roch vs. Gertrude

February 19, 2016 Comments Off on Roch vs. Gertrude


On the Lent Madness site, the match up between Christina Rossetti vs. Joseph crushed it it with 79%  of the vote. On the blog, Joseph nailed Christina taking 75% of the vote. Today’s match up is between Roch and Gertrude.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.


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.… Read more here.


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 LoveRead more here.

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