Saint Odilia, Virgin and Abbess

December 13

Today is the feast day of Saint Odilia.  Ora pro nobis.

by Dom Guéranger OSB, Book I

ON this same day, we have also the fifth of the wise virgins, whose bright lamps light us, during Advent, to the crib of Jesus their Spouse. Odilia did not shed her blood for Him, as did Bibiana, Barbara, Eulalia, and Lucy; her offering was her tears and her love. Her wreath of lilies blends sweetly with the roses, which form the crowns of her four companions. Her name is held in special veneration in the east of France, and beyond the Rhine. The holy hill whereon her tomb has rested now these thousand years, is still visited by numerous and devout pilgrims. Several kings of the Capetian race, and several emperors of the house of Hapsburg, were descendants of the father of our Saint, Adalric or Atticus, Duke of Alsace. Saint Odilia was born blind. Her father insisted on her being removed from the house, for her presence would have been a continual humiliation to him. It seems as though this affliction was permitted by Providence, in order that the action and power of Divine grace might be the more clearly manifested in her regard. The little exile was taken from her mother, and placed in a monastery. God, Who designed to show the virtue of the holy Sacrament of regeneration, permitted that her Baptism should be deferred until she had reached her thirteenth year. The time at length came for Odilia to be made a child of God. No sooner was she taken from the baptismal font, than she received her eyesight, which was but a feeble figure of the light which faith had lit up in her soul. This prodigy restored Odilia to her father and to the world; and from that time forward, she had to defend, against unceasing attacks, the virginity which she had vowed to God. Her personal beauty, and her father’s wealth and power, attracted to her many rich suitors. She refused them all; and her father himself built a monastery on the rocks of Hohenburg, wherein she served her Divine Lord, governed a large community, and gave relief to every sort of suffering.

After a long life spent in prayer, penance, and works of mercy, the day came which was to reward her for it all. It was this very day, the thirteenth of December, the feast of the holy virgin Lucy. The sisters of Hohenburg, desirous of treasuring up her last words, assembled round their saintly abbess. She was in an ecstasy, and already dead to the things of this life. Fearing lest she should die before she had received that holy Viaticum, which leads the soul to Him Who is her last end, the sisters thought it their duty to rouse her from the mystic sleep, which, so it seemed to them, rendered her forgetful of the duties which she had to perform. Being thus brought to herself, she turned to the community, and said to them: ‘Dear sisters, why have you disturbed me? Why would you again oblige me to feel the weight of this corruptible body, when I had once left it? By the favour of His Divine Majesty, I was in the company of the virgin Lucy, and the delights I was enjoying were so great that no tongue could tell them, nor ear hear them, nor human eye see them.’ No time was lost in giving her the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, which having received, she immediately rejoined her heavenly companion, and the thirteenth day of December thus united into one the feasts of the abbess of Hohenburg and of the Martyr of Syracuse. (1)

The Litany of St. Odilia

For Private Recital Only.

Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, 
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, excellent companion of St. Ursula, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, wonderful Virgin and Martyr, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, privileged spouse of Jesus, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, who out of love for Jesus, left thy country,
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, who after the example of Jesus, 
courageously carried thy cross, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, who preferred death to the loss of virginal purity, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, faithful to God even in torment,
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, who died a Martyr’s death, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, protector of the order of the Holy Cross, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, whose name is glorified by miracles, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, patroness of the eyes, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, powerful intercessor with God, 
Pray for us.
St. Odilia, our help and hope in all our needs, 
Pray for us.


Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be
Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done,
on earth, as it is in Heave. Give us this day our
daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we
forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is
the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, 
now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Heavenly Father, we come to Thee trusting in Thy mercy. May we be heard through the merits of Thy son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary and the Virgin Martyr St. Odilia. Give us what is best for now and forever.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Father in Heaven, Thou hast shown us Thy kindness by giving Saint Odilia to us as the protectress of the order of the Holy Cross and patroness of the blind and afflicted. We humbly ask to be protected, through her intercession, from the darkness of ignorance and sin and to be cured of blindness and other sickness.

Through Him Who is the source of all healing and life, Jesus Christ.
Our Lord and Savior. Amen. (2)

Image: Saint Odilia Etching.(4)

Research by REGINA Staff


Sign up for REGINA's weekly newsletter

  1. You will usually hear from us about once a week, usually on Sunday. 
  2. At other times, we may send a special email. 

To subscribe, go here!