SAINTE ODILE

Family tree of SAINTE ODILE

Saint

FrenchBorn Odile DE HOHENBOURG

Saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church

Born on 662 in Obernai , France

Deceased on 720 in Hohenbourg , France

Saint 50

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Odile was the daughter of Etichon (also known as Athich, Adalrich or Aldaric), Duke of Alsace and founder of the Etichonid noble family. By tradition she was born blind. Her father did not want her because she was a girl and handicapped, so her mother Bethswinda had her brought to Palma (perhaps present day Baume-les-Dames in Burgundy), where she was raised by peasants there.



A tenth century legend relates that when she was twelve, Odile was taken in to a nearby monastery. Whilst there, the itinerant bishop Saint Erhard of Regensburg was led, by an angel it was said, to Palma where he baptised her Odile (Sol Dei), whereupon she miraculously recovered her sight. Her younger brother Hughes had her brought home again, which enraged Etichon so much that he accidentally killed his son. Odile miraculously revived him, and left home again.

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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.) Supposedly, 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 gave up.



When Etichon fell ill, Odile returned to nurse him. He finally gave up resisting his headstrong daughter and founded the Augustine monastic community of Mont Ste. Odile (also known as Hohenburg Abbey) in the Hochwald (Hohwald), Bas-Rhin, where Odile became abbess and where Etichon was later buried. Some years later Odile was shown the site of Niedermünster at the foot of the mountain by St. John the Baptist in a vision. 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.



St. Odile died about 720 at the convent of Niedermünster. At the insistent prayers of her sisters she was returned to life, but after describing the beauties of the afterlife to them, she took communion by herself and died again. She was buried at Ste. Odile.



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Geographical origins

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