Saint Odilia (Ottilia) of Hohenbourg Abbess. Saint Odile, St. Otilia of Alsace Wooden Statues online;
† Hohenbourg, Alsace, 7th cent.
Healed from blindness, she became a Benedictine nun and governed the abbey of Hohenburg, which now bears her name: Odilienberg. She died in 720.
Patronage: Alsace, Diseases of the eyes
In the territory of Strasbourg in ancient Burgundy, France, Saint Ottilia, virgin and first abbess of the monastery of Hohenbourg founded by her father, Duke Adalríco.
Odilia or Ottilia, daughter of Duke Adalric of Alsace, a region of eastern France, but which in past centuries was several times of France or Germany, was born in Alsace in the seventh century, blind from birth and according to legend, her father entrusted her to a maid.
Costei led the child to the monastery of Balma (Baume-les-Dames) and it is said that in the moment in which the bishop s. Evrard baptized her, she regained her sight. She remained in Balma for a while, then Odilia was brought back home by her brother Ugo; her father Aldrich founded for her the monastery of Hohenbourg in Alsace of which she became the first abbess and there she lived a holy life.
According to legend, she also founded the monastery of Niedemunster. She died on December 13 of a year at the end of the 7th century. The abbess and the monastery of Hohenbourg are mentioned in a donation made to the abbess Adela in 783; the first 'Life' of St. Odilia was written at the beginning of the 10th century by a chaplain of Hohenbourg, mostly legendary.
The rule observed in the monastery was Benedictine, supplemented by other particularities, this seems to depend on the kinship between Aldric and his daughter Odilia with Ledogar, the great spreader of Benedictine monasticism.
The holy abbess was buried in Hohenbourg in the church of St. John, this church and tomb were first named by Pope Leo IX on December 17, 1050. The relics have a history of their own, some were transferred to other places, Emperor Charles IV on May 4, 1353 received his right arm, now preserved in Prague.
Others that were in Odilienberg were saved from the French Revolution in 1795, although the sarcophagus then lost its marble covering, in 1842 they were placed in a coffin under the altar.
The relics, which were brought to Einsiedeln in the 17th century, were destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1798. The cult of St. Odilia was widespread throughout the Middle Ages, in all Germanic abbeys and in some French regions; even today she is still venerated in the dioceses of Munich, Meissen, Strasbourg and in the female Benedictine abbeys of Austria.
The Roman Martyrology, following the ancient celebration of the XII century in St. Gallen, remembers her on December 13.
S. Odilia since 1807 is the patron saint of Alsace, where she receives a great popular cult, the Mont-Sainte-Odile is a place of pilgrimage very popular, where it is celebrated on the anniversary of the translation, which occurred July 7, 1842.
Chapels in her honor 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 clothes of the abbess, with an open book on which rest two eyes.
Sometimes she is represented while she frees from Purgatory the soul of her father Aldrich, and sometimes she carries in her hand a chalice, which refers to an episode of the 'Life' where Odilia, seriously ill and then died without having received the Viaticum, thanks to the prayers of her sorrowful sisters, resurrected and brought the chalice with the particles, she communicated by herself, dying soon after.
Her name is Odilia but from the XV century in Bavaria and then in Alsace was adopted the version Ottilia.