Hohenburg - The monastery on the sacred mountain
Around a million people make a pilgrimage every year to Mont Saint-Odile, the sacred mountain of Alsace on the wine route near Barr. Many ask for help at the grave of St. Odilia in difficult life situations and help with eye problems; others come as day trippers and enjoy the wonderful view, which in clear weather extends to the Strasbourg Cathedral. The whole building is on a rocky outcrop at 670 meters. A short descent leads from the square in front of the monastery church to the Odilienbrunnen. The saint herself is said to have triggered this spring with a blow to the stone and given the eyesight of a beggar with the water. The life story of Saint Odilia, who according to legend was born as a blind child in today’s Obernai around 660, is full of secrets. She is said to have won eyesight at baptism. It is historically certain that Odilia directed the Hohenburg Abbey, inhabited by women and men, as an abbess from 680 in the Irish-Franconian tradition. Many miracle stories are reported. Among other things, she is said to have accomplished a wonderful wine propagation – she is still the patron saint of the winegrowers.
Odilia is considered to bring light and is therefore celebrated on December 13th like Saint Luzia. Again and again she has been portrayed as a saint with the Book of Wisdom, on which she carries two eyeballs. As a Merovingian princess, Odilia was in the spiritual tradition of Irish monasticism. There are only a few remnants of their monastery, which was destroyed several times over the course of time: the sarcophagus in the chapel of St. John, which is also called the Odile Chapel, the Romanesque cross chapel with an artistically decorated central column and the ‹Tearstone Odilias›, the raw rock hides in the teardrop chapel on the floor under a grate – presumably a pre-Christian sanctuary.