Saint Odile (or Odilia) (Obernai, Dept. Bas-Rhin, c. 662 A.D. - c. 720 at Mount Ste. Odile) was the daughter of Etichon (Athich), Duke of Alsace. She was born blind. As her father did not want her because she was a girl, her mother Bethswinda had her brought to Palma (perhaps present day Baume-les-Dames in Burgundy) where she was raised.
When she was twelve, the itinerant bishop 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.
When Etichon fell ill, Odile returned to nurse him. He finally gave up resisting his headstrong daughter and founded the Augustine monastery of Mont Ste. Odile in the Hochwald (Hohwald), Bas-Rhin, where Odile became abbess and where Etichon was later buried.
Ste. Odile died about 720 at the convent of Niedermünster. She was buried at Ste. Odile.
Ste. Odile was made the Patron saint of Alsace in 1807 by pope Pius VII. Her feast day is 13 December. Odile is the patroness of ocular afflictions and ear diseases; her attribute is a pair of eyes. The Larkspur is connected to St. Odile as well and is believed to cure eye diseases in popular medicine and superstition.
Although originally from Strasbourg's quarter Cronenbourg the main brewing facility has been situated in the east of Obernai since 2001.
Famous brands include Kronenbourg and 1664.
Boulevard de l'Europe, BP 48, 67212 Obernai cedex
We started for Selestat that day and accidentally (as is our custom) ended up at Mont Ste. Odile, the abbey on top of a mountain. Needless to say, considering the setting, we parked and stayed. There are several walking paths right through the grounds so if you enjoy hiking, this is a magnificent hike. Directions are on the web site in several languages.
The abbey is very peaceful and they do take guests so there were people quietly reading and enjoying the peace of the place. There were also dozens of older, i.e. our age, German tourists quite intent on seeing absolutely everything and terrified they might be separated from their tour group. After being run down once, we learned to stay out of the way . . . a valuable lesson!
The church, two chapels, cloister, mosaics and frescoes are definitely worth the trip and we soon understood why it was such a popular tourist spot. Don't forget while you visit that people are there on pilgrimage and must be respected.
On the grounds is a wonderful sun dial moved from a closed Cistercian Monastery. It tells the time in many places around the world so on a sunny day you can see the time in your own country. Fun . . .