Odilia, St.

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Abbess and patroness of Alsace, also called Adilia, Othilia, Ottilia; b. c. 660; d. c. 720. The daughter of Attich (d. c. 700), duke of Alsace, Odilia was first abbess of the convent of Hohenburg (mont sainte-odile) and foundress of Niedermünster. According to a 10th century vita of questionable reliability, written probably at Mont SainteOdile (Odilienberg), she was born blind and taken secretly to a convent, possibly Baume-les-Dames, to escape the wrath of her father. It is reported that she miraculously received her sight when St. erhard baptized her, and this extraordinary incident accounts for the portrayal of the saint holding a book on which two eyes are lying. Her cult is very old and widespread; her name was inserted into the Litany of All Saints as early as the ninth century. Odilia is invoked as the patroness of those afflicted with diseases of the eye, and the collect of the Mass for her feast day likewise recalls the saint's cure from blindness and prays that through Odilia's intercession the faithful may turn their eyes from earthly vanity to God.

Feast: Dec. 13.

Bibliography: Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum (Berlin 1826) 6:2450. a. m. zimmer-mann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige (Metten 193338) 3:424427. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 4:551553. m. coens, Analecta Bollandiana 54 (1936) 20, 27; 55 (1937) 68. a. burg, Histoire de l'Église d'Alsace (Colmar 1946). a. schÜtte, Handbuch der deutschen Heiligen (Cologne 1941) 272. j. billing, Die Heiligen der Diözese Strassburg (Colmar 1957) 2531. c. riffenach and f. allemann, Odile d'Alsace (Strasbourg 1985). l. mancinelli, Il miracolo di Santa Odilia (Turin 1989). g. trendel and m. vogt, Le Mont Sainte-Odile, trange et sacr. (Strasbourg 1992). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes (Paris 193556) 12: 413417. l. rÉau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien (Paris 195559) 3:9991003.

[h. dressler]