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St. Odelia

Born: 7th C.

Died: c.720

Canonized: pre-Congregation

Feast Day: December 13

Patron Saint of: blind

Odelia 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, Odelia's mother, Lady Bereswinda, negotiated with her husband to let Odelia live, but the agreement was that Odelia be sent off in secret never to return home. Lady Bereswinda found a peasant whom she trusted to be Odelia's foster mother, but contrary to the agreement, told this woman the truth. The peasant woman took Odelia to Baume-les-Dames and sent Odelia 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 Odelia's eyes with the baptismal chrism, her eyesight was miraculously given to her. Fully aware of the truth of Odelia'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 Odelia to be accepted back into the family), the Lord was remorseful over his treatment of Odelia and Hugh; however, he soon returned to his old ways. Odelia 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 Odelia down. Upon finding her, his plans to put her to death were once again changed, no one knows why. Odelia convinced her father that her only spouse was her Lord Jesus. To be finally rid of her, Odelia was given her release and a home in Alsace. Odelia promptly turned this castle into an abbey where there were many reports of conversions and miraculous healings.