Sunday Shrine 11/16

Image extracted from page 309 of King’s Hand-book of the United States planned and edited by M. King. Text by M. F. Sweetser, by SWEETSER, Moses Forster. Original held and digitised by the British Library.

As I just discovered my baby kitty (AKA Leif the furry monster) has cancer, I’m putting up a Sunday Shrine to St. Roch in New Orleans.

GUILTY.

Leif the furry monster. Considerably trimmer and younger.

Here’s hoping that the fine folks at NCIS NOLA get a clue  mention this awesome place! Though looking at the photos, they’ve had some shots of this area already.

Entrance arch to St. Roch Cemetery, New Orleans Photo by Infrogmation, Creative Commons License.

This was built in honor of St. Roch, who is a plague saint very popular in Germany.  You can find lots of chapels and shrines to him all down the Rhine.  St. Roch used to be a predominantly German neighborhood, and this chapel retains the culture that built it.

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Infrogmation) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

During the yellow fever epidemic in 1868, Father Peter Leonhard Thevis prayed to St. Roch to spare his congregation.  If no one died of the fever, he would build a chapel in the cemetery in his honor.  Lo, no one died, so this chapel was erected. It has been a place of prayer and healing.

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Infrogmation (talk)) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Infrogmation) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So, why do I ask St. Roch to help my cat?  Because St. Roch himself became ill, after healing so many. When the fathers of the city tossed him out, a nobleman’s dog brought him food, licked his wounds.  St. Roch survived to heal, and has been considered a protector of animals.

By christina rutz (originally posted to Flickr as NEW ORLEANS) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A great many people have come here for prayers, and leave tokens of appreciation, including moulded body parts, bricks of thanks, pennies and even food.  It echoes the milagro tradition practiced in the Southwest, especially on the border. It has a long history.

Note: Histories came from this wonderful article from Tulane University, and Wikimedia Commons.

UPDATE: Another nice set of photos of St. Roch cemetery.

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