Odilie of Hohenburg

On the ruins of the roman castell of Altitona Adalrich founded a castle. Adalrich, who is also known as Etichon, was Duke of Alsace under King Dagobert II. According to the legend, his first born child was a girl called Odilie, who was born blind. As Adalrich expected a son, her mother gave Odilie to the midwife, to protect it from the fathers anger. Odilie grew up in the convent of Palma in Baume-les-Dames, close to Besancon. At the age of 12, she was baptized by the bishop of Regensburg. During the act of being baptized, she miraculously gained eyesight. She was given the name Odilia, daughter of light. Through continuous prayers, she is said to have rescued the soul of her cruel father from the purgatory.

Historically kown is, that Odilia, when she returned to her parents, was bequeathed with the Hohenburg and founded a convent between 680 and 690. On the fundaments of this original convent, there is the convent as we know it today. After her death on December 13, 720, Odilias Tomb was put in a stone sacropharc, where it has remained since. One of her arms went as a relict to Prague.

The cult of Odilia was documented already in the 10th century. But her fame grew further than the frontiers of the German Reich. In the 12th century, it reached Northern Italy. Stopped through reformation, the veneration of St. Odile grew again at the late 16th century. Places of pilgrimage in Baden and Bavaria with "Ottilien-" or "Odilien-" are still proofs of this enshrinement. The most important factors are devoutness and beneficiance. But there is more: healings are connected to her. Especially people with eye problems turn to the patron saint of those with eye maladies and the blind. Also those, who suffer from blindness in a metaphorical way turn to her.

The attribute with which we see the saint on pictures, are the ones of Benedictines or Augustines, the stick of the abbot, the opened holy bible with an eye on every side or an eye itself. That she is also patron of the Alsace is not only due to the fact, that this is her homeland, but has also a political impetus. As the Alsace went into the Deutsche Kaiserreich in 1871 and thus was lost to France, she also grew symbol of the lost province. The official declaration of Odilia as Patron of Alsace was made by pope Pius XXII on 6th of June, 1946. Through Missions, the adoration of St. Odile came to various countries of Africa, to Madagascar and Asia. To the present day, many hospitals and religious carry her name and are thus under her protection.

Odilie of Hohenburg

Odilie of Hohenburg