Monday, 25 March 2013

St Roke - Patron Saint of Curates

Many years ago, whilst attending a priesting in one of the churches in our diocese I was fortunate enough to find myself sitting before a most wonderfully decorated kneeler (AKA 'Hassock').

The design was beautifully crafted and around three of the edges were the words (name of place changed to defend feelings of kneeler's creator):


One of those around us asked who 'St Roke' was and soon they were brought up to speed with this wonderfully colourful mediaeval Saint who was a star turn on the church circuits with his talking monkey. 

Roke would appear at church functions and the monkey would run around doing amazing things and was also heard reading the Gospel and preaching, albeit rather clumsily, on occasions.

Everyone loved the monkey and its appearance would cheer the hearts of many as it brought God's word into the place it was to be found.

As time went by, Roke was adopted as the patron saint of all curates, and this accounted for the presence of the kneeler.

All of us present, being curates felt some unseen link to this man and his simian assistant (who many of us could relate to for some strange reason) whose saint's day fall at the beginning of April!


Vic Van Den Bergh said...

St Roke came about after we'd been in a priesting service and it was of course:

The fun bit of it all was how many were taken in by the joke and it actually grew a little out of hand after one of our number included a reference of the marvellous saint and his monkey.

But then again - perhaps he is a saint for all of us in God's ministry - always good to know there's someone looking out of us 'talking monkeys!"


Rob Crompton said...

Vic, In the hills outside Malaga, there is a roadside shrine to St Roke - well, San Roque - and his dog which is licking the saint's sores. When I was there a few days ago we wondered whether maybe this should have been Lazarus - or, Lazzie?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...


Healer of those with the Black Death (good to have a quite specific job description isn't it?) if I recall correctly.

Excellent - thanks for the comments (now thinking of 'Lazzie Come Home' as sequel


Rev Trev said...

Looks rather like my last curate. Can hear Roke praying, "Lord, I know we pay peanuts but shouldn't we get elephants, not monkeys?"