Short History of St. Odilia, Virgin and Abbess
Odilia was born into nobility in Obernheim in the Alsace region of France. Her father, Lord Adalrie, upon discovering that this newborn daughter was blind, order that she be put to death. Fortunately, Odilia's mother, Lady Bereswinda, negotiated with her husband to let Odelia live, but the agreement was that Odilia be sent off in secret never to return home. Lady Bereswinda found a peasant whom she trusted to be Odilia's foster mother, but contrary to the agreement, told this woman the truth. The peasant woman took Odilia to Baume-les-Dames and sent Odilia to the local convent when she reached 12 years of age. At the convent, she was baptized by the Bishop of Ratisbon, Saint Erhard. When Saint Erhard touched Odilia's eyes with the baptismal chrism, her eyesight was miraculously given to her. Fully aware of the truth of Odilia's past, the bishop immediately set off to give her father a first hand account of the event. The news spread faster than Saint Erhard could travel and upon discovering what had happened, Hugh, Odelia's brother, began preparations for the joyous return. Upon discovering the news and upon learning of Hugh's plans, Lord Adalrie flew into a fit of rage and struck Hugh, killing him. For only a short time (just long enough for Odilia to be accepted back into the family), the Lord was remorseful over his treatment of Odilia and Hugh; however, he soon returned to his old ways. Odilia fled from home when she discovered that her father had, against her wishes, planned to marry her off to a wealthy German baron. Her father did not relent and tracked Odilia down. Upon finding her, his plans to put her to death were once again changed, no one knows why. Odilia convinced her father that her only spouse was her Lord Jesus. To be finally rid of her, Odilia was given her release and a home in Alsace. Odilia promptly turned this castle into an abbey where there were many reports of conversions and miraculous healings.
PrayerO God, Who in Your Kindness did give us St. Odilia, Virgin Martyr, as the Protectress of the Order of the Holy Cross and the Patroness of the eyes and afflicted, grant us we humbly beseech You to be protected, through her intercession, from the darkness of ignorance and sin and to be cured from the blindness of the eyes and other bodily infirmities. Through Him, Who is the Light and Life of the World, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord. Amen.