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Onamia, Minnesota: National Shrine of Saint Odilia


About Saint Odilia of Alsace:

Saint Odilia is probably not high on the list of saint’s names that you remember, but the story is a fascinating one. Tradition tells us that she was born blind,

Her father was the Duke of Alsace. When she was still an infant, her parents realized that she was blind. Her father was so angry that he ordered his only child put to death. But Odilia’s mother convinced him to allow Odilia to be raised by nuns.  Once she turned 12 years old, the nuns decided to baptize her, since she had not been baptized as a child.   They gathered around her and as the priest blessed her with chrism, her blindness was cured.

She grew in to a beautiful young woman and returned home to her family.  Her father planned for her to marry a rich man. Odilia wanted to become a nun and to live the life she knew so well. Her father again lost his temper and treated her badly until one day he saw her hiding a bowl of food under her cloak as she left the castle. He asked her what she was doing. Odilia explained that she was bringing food to the poor.

She had sailed with a group of pilgrims headed to the East, but somehow ended up in the Rhine River, was captured by barbarians and was martyred for her faith around 720 in Cologne.

Long after here death, in 1287 AD, Saint Odilia appeared three times in a Paris monastery to Brother John of Eppa, a Crosier lay brother.  She told him that God had commanded her to be the Protectress of the Order, and told him where her relics were to be found.

It took three times before Brother John could convince his superior to authorize the journey.

Brother John and his companion, Father Louis, journeyed to Cologne and in the garden of Arnulph retrieved her relics from where they were buried…..exactly where she said they would be found. 

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Odilia on December 13.


About the National Shrine of Saint Odilia in Onamia, Minnesota:

The National Shrine of St. Odilia is located in the Priory Chapel of the Crossier Community here in Onamia.

It contains a major relic of Saint Odilia that was brought here in 1952. You can see the relic in a marble reliquary here in the Shrine.

The Shrine is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you would like a Crosier to greet you, you can call ahead at 320-532-3103.

Click here for the official website of the National Shrine of Saint Odilia in Onamia, Minnesota.

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