Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Image of St. Odilia

Facts


Saint Odilia

About the year 300, Saint Odilia and ten other virgins set out from England on a pilgrimage to the East. By accident or plan the ship in which they sailed went up the Rhine. They were captured by some soldiers and taken to Cologne. There the young women were killed in defense of their Christian faith and their purity. St. Odilia's future role as the Patroness of the Order of the Holy Cross is pictured by the Crosier standard and her motto, "I have chosen the cross."

St. Louis of France helps found the Parish House

The Paris house of the Crosiers is very important in the history of Saint Odilia. It was here that she appeared to John of Eppa with her special message. The Crosier community was founded in Paris in 1258. King St. Louis was particularly interested in the Order of the Holy Cross because of his great devotion to the Passion of Christ. Construction of the Church was begun about the year 1268.

Saint Odilia appears to Brother John in Paris

In the spring of 1287, Saint Odilia appeared three times to Brother John of Eppa, a Crosier lay brother, in the Paris monastery. She told him that God had commanded her to be the Protectress of the Order and where her relics were to be found. Brother John and his companion, Father Louis, journeyed to Cologne and the garden of Arnulph where the relics were buried.

Saint Odilia's relics are found and taken to Huy

After overcoming the skepticism of Arnulph, the two Crosiers began to dig around the pear tree in his garden where Odilia said the relics were to be found. Three urns were unearthed containing the remains of Odilia, Ida and Emma. Many cures took place through the intercession of Saint Odilia. The newly-discovered relics were taken to the mother house of the Crosiers at Huy, Belgium, with great solemnity.

Persecuted by the world, The Order loses the relics

The Order suffered much during the Protestant Revolt, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The Mother house at Huy was destroyed but a priest managed to escape with the relics of St. Odilia. They were to remain in a parish church in Kerniel, Belgium, for many years.

The relics of Saint Odilia are returned to the Order

In 1949, the relics of Saint Odilia were returned from the parish church at Kerniel where they had been since the French Revolution, to the care of the Order of the Holy Cross. They were taken in solemn procession from Kermiel to the Crosier monastery at Diest, Belgium as shown in these windows. In 1952 a major relic of Saint Odilia was brought to Onamia, Minnesota. A shrine in honor of the Patroness of the Order and the Patroness of the blind and afflicted was then set up in the seminary chapel.

Shrine of Saint Odilia

It was a long, long time ago, in the fourth century, that Odilia, the daughter of a powerful ruler of Britain, went to her martyrdom at Cologne, Germany, together with Ursula and a group of other virgins. These virgins were seeking a place where they might practice their faith in peace and quiet, but at the gates of Cologne they were met by fierce and cruel barbarians. The life-story of these valiant women ends here. They chose death.

The work of the Saints in heaven, though sometimes unseen and unheralded, is richer by far than it was on earth. So it was with Saint Odilia. About eight hundred years later, in 1287, she appeared to John Novelan, a lay brother of the Crosier Order in Paris, and told him she had been appointed by God to be the Patron Saint and Protectress of the members of the Order of the Holy Cross (now commonly called Crosier Fathers). She informed him also that her relics were to be found in an orchard in Cologne and begged him to get permission to unearth them. He did ask permission of his superior but was refused. Saint Odilia was persistent; she appeared twice more. Finally the Prior consented and commanded a priest of the Order to accompany the brother.

When these two reached Cologne, they had little trouble finding the relics. Joyfully they informed the Archbishop, who came personally to witness the findings.

Saint Odilia had instructed Brother John that her relics were to be taken to the Motherhouse of the Order at Huy in Belgium. Both at Cologne and on the way to Huy various cures took place, of blindness, of paralysis and other bodily infirmities.

In 1797, at the time of the French Revolution, the monastery at Huy was totally destroyed; and although the relics were saved they were lost to the Order. Fortunately, just recently, in 1949, Saint Odilia "came back home". Her relics were returned to the order, and a large portion of one of her bones was brought to Onamia, Minnesota, and now rests in her Shrine here. It can be viewed by entering the Shrine, where it is encased in a marble reliquary. Saint Odilia has promised to shower a stream of graces upon the Crosier Fathers and upon all those who invoke her aid in their hour of need. For centuries it has been the practice in the Crosier Order to bless water in honor of Saint Odilia, dipping her relic in it and asking God to give it "power against all diseases and bodily infirmities". Many are the cures, especially of diseases of the eyes, obtained through her intercession.

Thousands of people, from every state, send in their petitions to be included in the novenas, and many letters of thanks are received from people whose favors have been granted. Apparently Saint Odilia is kept busy in heaven showering graces and blessings upon her friends on earth.

Retreat

In July of each year, the Crosier Fathers and Brothers offer a one-day healing retreat, focusing on Saint Odilia, Patroness of the Blind and Afflicted and Patroness of the Crosiers. This retreat is held at the National Shrine of Saint. Odilia in Onamia, Minnesota.

Novena

Novenas in honor of Saint Odilia are made at Crosier Monastery twice a month, beginning on the 5th and 17th of each month, and the national novena is held from July 10-July 18.


This Information was Provided By Crosier Fathers and Brothers



St. Patrick: Man, Myth & Holiday

Learn interesting facts and tidbits about the beloved St. Patrick.

Learn More

St. Odilia Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

41.

Image of St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest, ... continue reading | shop

42.

Image of St. Mary Magdelene

St. Mary Magdelene

She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the name 'Magdalen' because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her ... continue reading | shop

43.

Image of St. George

St. George

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God's holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Casimir

St. Casimir

Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father's authority ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Emma

St. Emma

Emma was a relative of Emperor St. Henry II and also known as Hemma. She was raised at Henry's court by St. Cunegund, and according to legend was married to Landgrave William of Friesach. Their two children were murdered during an uprising of mines owned by William. ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Leander of Seville

St. Leander of Seville

St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast - February 27th) Leander was born at Cartagena, Spain, of Severianus and Theodora, illustrious for their virtue. St. Isidore and Fulgentius, both bishops were ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Alexis Falconieri

St. Alexis Falconieri

Founder and mystic, one of the first Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Irenaeus of Lyon wrote these words - The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason, God-who cannot be grasped, comprehended, or seen-allows Himself to be seen, comprehended, and grasped by men, that He may give life to those who see and receive Him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy His goodness.

Learning from St Irenaeus How to Know God

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a  relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:18-20
18 'Come on,' they said, 'let us concoct a plot ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
5 to your hands I commit my spirit, by you have I ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:17-28
17 Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 4th, 2015 Image

St. Casimir
March 4: Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter