Posted in PATRONAGE - EYES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 December – Saint Odilia of Alsace (c 660-720)

Saint of the Day – 13 December – Saint Odilia of Alsace (c 660-720) Virgin Abbess, born blind, but was miraculously granted her sight, miracle-worker. Born of a noble family in c 660 at Oberheim in the Vosges Mountains, Germany and died on 13 December 720 at Niedermunster, Mount Sainte Odile, Germany of natural causes. Also known as – Odilia of Hohenbourg, Odilia of Hohenburg, Adilia, Odile, Odilia, Othilia, Ottilia. Patronages – against eye diseases and partial sightedness, ear diseases and ailments, of Alsace, France (proclaimed in 1807 by Pope Pius VII). Additional Memorial 7 July – translation of her relics.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In the territory of Strasbourg in ancient Burgundia in France, Saint Ottilia, Virgin and first Abbess of the Monastery of Hohenbourg founded by her father, Duke Adalríco.

A Mosaic Depiction of St Odilia in Mont Sainte-Odile, Alsace

Odilia, daughter of Duke Adalric of Alsace, (also known as Etichon, Alderic, Aldarico, Athich) a region of eastern France but which region, in the past centuries, belonged to France or Germany alternatively, several times – she was, therefore, born in Alsace in the seventh century, blind from birth and according to legend, her father entrusted her to a peasant family.

When Odilia was 12 years old, they took the child to the Monastery of Balma (Baume-les-Dames) to be educated. At the time when the Bishop, St Erhard of Regensburg who was led by an angel to the Monastery, Baptised Odilia. When he touched her with the Oil of Chrism, she received her sight. Her younger brother Hugo had her brought home again, for [purposes of arranging a marriage for Odilia. Aldaric was so enraged at Hugo’s presumption, that he accidentally killed his son. Odilia miraculously revived him and immediately fled the family home again.

She fled across the Rhine to a cave or cavern in one of two places (depending on the source – the Musbach valley near Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, or Arlesheim near Basel, Switzerland.) The cliff face opened up in order to rescue her from her plight. In the cave, she hid from her father. When he tried to follow her, he was injured by falling rocks and relinquished his search. This mountain has since then been called
Odilienberg.

But when Aldaric fell ill, Odile returned to nurse him. He finally capitulated, ceased resisting his headstrong daughter and founded the monastic community of Mont Ste. Odile (also known as Hohenburg Abbey) for her.

Some years later Odile was shown, in a vision, the site of Niedermünster at the foot of the mountain by St John the Baptist. There she founded a second Monastery, including a hospital. Here, the head and an arm of St Lazarus of Marseille were displayed but later transferred to Andlau. The buildings of the Niedermünster burned down in 1542 but the local well is still said to cure eye diseases.

Odilia died on 13 December 720 and the holy Abbess was buried in Hohenbourg in the Church of St John. This Church and Odilia’s Tomb were first mentioned by Pope Leo IX on 17 December 1050.

St Odilia in Avolsheim, Alsace

The relics have a history all of their own, the Emperor Charles IV received her right arm on 4 May 1353, which is now kept in Prague. Other relics which were in Odilienberg were saved from the French Revolution, although the marble covering the Sarcophagus was then lost. In 1842 the relics were placed in a chest under the Altar in Hohenbourg in the Church of St John and some are found in Alsace.

Odilia’s cult was widespread throughout the Middle Ages, in all Germanic Abbeys and in some French regions. She is still greatly venerated today in the Diocese of Alsace, Munich, Meissen, Strasbourg and in the Austrian fBenedictine Abbeys and by those all over the world suffering from eye ailments.

St Odilia has been the patron saint of Alsace since 1807, where she receives a great popular cult. Mont-Sainte-Odile is a very popular pilgrimage site, where her Feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of the transfer of her relics, which took place on 7 July 1842.

Chapels in her honour are built on hills and mountains, she is invoked especially for the healing of eyes, ears or headaches, in fact she is represented in the guise of Abbess, with an open book on which two eyes rest.

Sometimes she is depicted while freeing the soul of her father Aldaric from Purgatory and sometimes she carries a Chalice in her hand, which refers to a miraculous episode in which Odilia, being seriously ill, died without having received the Viaticum. Thanks to the prayers of her sorrowful Sisters, she rose again and had the Chalice with the Consecrated Hosts brought to her bedside. After communicating she died again.

This statue is in Strasbourg

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and bless you 🙏

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