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MAY 18 1899

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
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Copyright No.

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

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Odile praising God.^mm St. .

M . A. Vine. McGowan. Lerin. O. THE PEARL OF ALSACE.THE STORY OF SAINT Or^ILE. In portum religionis cunctis semper fidissimum. Pa. BY Rev. Philadelphia. 1899. S.) JOHN J. Francis X. (S. McVEY.

1899.Osrfz 31246 Copyright. . McVEY. JOHN J.

To THE (Refigieu0e0 OF Our Young Country In Memory of Their Many Kappy Years Of Love and Labor In the Service of the Divine Master. . This Little Book Is Respectfully In^sCRIbed.

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. PAGE Odile's Birth and Her Father's Anger . CHAP. 9 II. A Closing 94 117 VIII. Odile's Childhood .. ..20 III.. .. . I. 32 45 62 78 V. VII. IV. . Odile's Suitor Adalric's Grief . VI. Conclusion .CONTENTS. Odile Becomes Abbess of Hohenburg The Ancient Monastic Episode Life. and His Quest for Odile. The Miracle at Odile's Baptism The Duke of Suabia.

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so much fact in the folk-lore from it their lives have been evolved that its generally bears on face the stamp of credi- The legends concerning the deeds and virtues of the saints of the remote past have historical certainty as a basis. death of inflicted One version relates the sad Hugh. but clothed narrative garb. The a history of the early Saints has always for Catholic strange fascination is readers. but rather envel- oped ciated it with a poetic charm. There which bility.PREKACE. The facts. Odile's brother. although the events in the main are quite similar. for having (7) . by many French and GerThe legend has varied some- what. which all is appre- by historical students. have been given as tradi- tionally certain man writers. which was by his father's hand. in related in this history. and the imag- ination of the simple-minded people has not detracted from this truth.

A chapter on the abbeys and nuns of the help Middle Ages has been added to the story. . sometimes written HoemThe cheerful hope is entertained that borch. We are confident that its perusal will profit.) in quoted from Jacck Digby's Mores Catholici less We have followed a to be tragic account. ch. IV.8 PREFACE. Y. sister dared to bring the exiled legitimate home. be attended with both pleasure and The French is spelling of the Saint's name retained : Odilc. which will well to remove the false impressions given by ignorant. though it is often written The same may be said of the name of the castle w hich became Odile's abbey Hohenbtirg. which appears more probable. Otliilia. It is back to her and other authors (Vol. V. but also into the mediaeval period with its wonderful movements. malicious or prejudiced writers on this theme of mediaeval days. HoosicK Falls. N. this little book may serve to give the reader some insight not only into the heroic life of Odilia and : Alsace's Patroness.

as he leaned upon the table of the window. and apparently. whose possessions were even more extensive than those of his fathers. and her father's anger." there stood away back the Vllth century the stately castle of Hohen- burg. the lord of the domain was Adalric.THE STORY OF ^'THE ST. PEARL OF ALSACE. At the time of which we write. '* On the highest point of the blue Alsatian in mountains. he was looking at the sky which was begemmed (9) with myriad . a strongly-fortified place. One evening he sat pondering deeply some unusual occurrence that had forced him into retirement." CHAPTER odile's birth I. ODILR. whose history is wrapped up in the various religious and political events of those early days.

through which he could not otherwise . The sinuous mountain-sides fir-trees. a were covered with large sombre well as it species of tree found in the Vosges chain. name When night has spread shadows over the wearied earth. to was not a strange thing as it any one gazing. on account of of the its color. after en- joying the light and heat of the sun. of The castle haughty as the Dukes of Alsace who built it. as in the immense German Black Foi'est. ODILE. as ing country. the moon's mysterious rays play strangely among them the foliage of the trees and lend to fantastic shapes. guarded with jealous independence the loftiest summit that could be descried for miles around in the neighbor- Hohenburg. see It ST." for it gladdens the heart of the fatigued woodman at a late who traverses these mountain-woods hour. forest.lO shining stars. were. Assuredly. in ecstacy on the splendid landscape which unfolded before the windows of the old donjon. its to which the has given. we cannot help admiring the beauty and soft liance of the *' bril- lamp of Almighty God.

the flickering in glow. The curfew-bell notified these good peasants that it was time for prayer. while the progressing. find his II way. as if placed there to guide the belated traveler. They wait thus. but would have to grope through gloom among huge rocks and dangerous steeps. for the parish-bell to ring out the curfew. Adam paradise held sweet converse with his Maker-. in- comprehensible thing lore appears this oft-repeated folk- have for each listener the charm talk is of novelty. Around the hearth the members of the family and the eldest one among them recounts some famous tale. just as at eventide. have gathered after the day's toil. with such exactitude that the story varies only in form and not to in ! substance. Down fires below in the valley.ODILES BIRTH. and they then gave thanks to in the terrestrial God for the bless- ings of the day. graven long since on memory's tablets. like lights a ship's rigging. Yet. so these pious Alsatians in their isolated country elevated their souls to God and received in exchange for their fer- .

and insects fatal to nature's pro- ducts were not known in the Vllth century. iii. as far as was possible for human nature. the dews heaven on their little vineyards and the harvests of their productive soil they knew the but else than their prayers and is directing of their ploughs. of They asked the body. ODILE.^ words: this privileged land. strictly in accordance with the demands of religion. were esteemed therefore all as of high lineage and as sons of God. the it Knights and the people. . first the bread of the soul and after the bread of They thus drew fine down . 6. but God gave the increase.12 ST. During this epoch in the world's history. vor and simplicity the peace promised unto all men of good-will. phylloxera. crease and benediction were in fact heaven's answer to The oidium. the two great secular classes. who at each recurring Eastertide and on chim* I Cor. of God their daily bread. Apollo Inwatered. lived. but there no need of much science to understand the Apostle's / have planted.

which could be reached only hours of rapid travel. progress majestic after many at that The Rhine reflecting period rolled on ''tranquil and proud of the of its waters.oment or stars. of their Saviour coursed through their Sir Adalric I But let us resume our story. who changeth the heavens as we change a vesture. rather bad He appeared humor. Such a temptation might indeed come to him naturally. for Providence had bestowed on him an inheritance exceedingly large." The Lord Adalric could scarcely think of '' all these things." all on its bosom the colors of the firma- ment and proclaiming in unison with nature the power and grandeur of God. however. if it were the stars that captivated if his soul at this his eyes were strained to survey the lay of his estates far ofif in the distance. ing festival received the Lord's I 3 Body and the Blood veins.ODILE'S BIRTH. in fact to be in One might take a . sat in this tower musing at the m. doubt. his lands rich and valuable stretched aw^ay to the borders of the Rhine.

the Mayor of the Palace under Clovis II. Adalric of Hohenburg had ascertained a few of a pretty hours before that he was the father little daughter.. as lord. greatness does not always bring happiness. for had the Duke . The Duke the cause of his discontent. but it we have said. ODILE. Adalric did not think that male-heirs might come daughter was not to be despised . that a . the niece . and Sigismund. Adalric. of Leger. he has an ambi- tion to have a son who will perpetuate his later on.14 ST. noble gentle name and little race. and that was the whole cause of his anger. thousand chances and never guess what was Had his troops received some check in war? Had his fine health received a shock? Was his honor compromised in some affair? None of these had occurred to raise his wrath. if was a powerful seems as serf. Bishop of Autun. been only a poor he would have wel- comed a daughter as warmly as a son but when a man counts among his ancestors Archambaud. King of Burgundy when he has for a wife Bereswinde.

odile's birth." she repeatedly to . said Dear husband. she was born blind. who endeavor to make up by increase of love for what is deficient in ! the fruit of their *' womb. Bereswinde possessed in a high degree the delicacy of mothers. The But new-born child was not even baptized. Ah Bereswinde only loved the little one all the more on this account. in order to give them the means of understanding the advantages of this holy rite and the serious obligations which it imposes. parents often waited the until their children had attained the to age of reason before regenerating sacrament was administered. and. 15 he refused curtly to see the child that Beres- winde had brought professed a into the world. because she had fallen from the heart of God into her bosom. though as a Christian. he behaved finely as barbarian or a pagan. To crown with bitterness the event of the child's birth. that we may not paint Adalric in too dark colors. we must admit that in the early ages of the Church.

I am sure you would be delighted and love her as soon as you saw her. Bereswinde did not dare say anything further. which.6 1 ST. bore animosity The poor afflicted one did not yet comprehend her pitiable condition. replied always by knitting his eyebrows and scowling. so some one has written. If Adalric. and towards her. of disappointment on castle. hence had no feeling that score. having no suspicion that anylittle body." Adalric. not certainly her father. as we make iron pass through the fire to purify it. however. Bereswinde brought her often into the gardens adjoining the and she played and enjoyed herself with the traditional storks. But a sorer trial awaited the duchess. on earth a soul to her would descend . as arms to me for a caress and her sightless eyes seem to speak. to make His elect souls pass through the crucible of sorrow. The child grew up happily under her mother's care. is you knew what grace she extends her already in her smile. '' ODILE. finding as white as their wings. God is accustomed. consent to see our Odile.

One to fine day. Adalric sent word to his wife that he had some important intelligence communicate to her. He came to Bereswinde's apartment with sombre look. and perceiving Odile playing in a corner. she has grown up and roams at leisure in all parts and appurtenances of the castle. the child might die for want of space and air.odile's birth. In the meantime. If I were to shut her up in some retired room where I would not see her. he gave orders that she be re. I know that I am about to make your heart bleed. and I ask pardon beforehand. moved at once his antipathy was so ex- treme that he did not want to lay eyes on the innocent child. but you are aware of the oath which I have sworn never to look on my daughter. and if she wished to hear it. After this. conher '* : 2 . to 17 like remount again and soar sheets of gold in the splendor of the noon- day*s sun. for a while. he would speak to her immediately. he sat down near Bereswinde and conversed briefly with Noble woman. The wisest thing to do.

The Duke seemed steel. ODILE. possess a heart that was plated with that Vv/as and better endowed with strength than never faltered in any tenderness. sought at least to alleviate. trust to '' to her service for a Berthilda. unable to change her husband's determination. He who point of honor or loyalty. Give her charge to rear her to some one of your attendants who will as you wish. at least for the nonce." some Bereswinde nothing to became pale reflect at once. is sidering the circumstances. The Duchess of Alsace. and who was recog- nized as brave as a lion.I 8 ST. for we shall see in the sequel that did not permit God him to keep such a harsh soul. the lot of the child w^ho was to be taken from her. a soul which is in- you as dear to me as ." she said to her. but let her be removed other place as early as possible. to separate her in from the household. selected a pious and affectionate She long I woman who '* had been attached time. besought her lord to obtained on his plan. as much as possible. was singularly deficient in paternal sentiment. but favorable from him.

and for a long time afflicted her tears mingled with those of the She then took her precious charge and wrapped it carefully in her cloak. as it hath pleased the Lord. this now the hour to glorify God by our pa- tience. As for poor mother. to depart quickly with her light burherself. and the Lord hath taken away. the great sufferer mentioned in Sacred Scripture '' : The : Lord gave. child slept smnling with the angels . tude to bear is will give me my sufferings. God is my witness that after Him love nothing more than my daughter. . Berthilda. The mother. allowed no other word to arise from her heart to her oratory. to her lips save that of holy Job. 19 my I own." Berthilda wept. she her servant woman den. but He who gave the Virgin Mary strength to stand at the footside of the cross. when her also forti- only Son was dying. Lord. Beres- winde impressed a mastering her last kiss on her left lips.odile's birth." * Job 21. so is it done Blessed be the Name * of the i. she hastened and falling on her knees. and grief.

There two horses. the and scarcely ever Berthilda. other. waiting for the signal to depart.CHAPTER Look IT. In those primitive days women traveled on horseback. mounted one of the saddled young peasant jumped on the the beasts. holding in made Odile use of carriages. of Alsace on her road to their future and bearing company They followed the moss-covered paths. at Bcrthilda descending the Hohen- burg. odile's childhood. accompanied not alone by the child. and at length they reached the base of the mountain. and a During progress of the journey they chatted (20) . harnessed and saddled. winging their flight under the branches of the aged fir-trees. who have the pleasurable honor of protecting the daughter of the House to exile little sister. but also by a happy escort of angels. pawed the earth with impatience. w^ith utmost care her arms.

' Look at Berthilda descending the Hohenburg. but also by a happy escort of angels. ' J . accompanied not alone by the child.

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that ters There **Alas!" Berthilda answered sighing. His name was and he had been informed by a mes- senger from the Duchess to meet Berthilda just at that spot. Now. of whose roof was his daughter master. sister. father.ODILE pleasantly. Peter. as lovely as an angel of the ! good God. smiling at ! his ease. *'Ah!" '' said Peter. but acknowledge generously the hospitality which we give his will he also daughter. this darling little creature is some mystery beneath it. **you my noble mas- have for a long time asked of the Lord . 21 many things to say to each other. little what good fortune for the house Is not this princess our providence? Surely Duke will Adalric not only not allow her to want for anything. having S CHILDHOOD. tell me how of it is that the heiress of the Dukes Alsace is ? thus handed over is." are not ignorant. to the care of poor vassals She nevertheless. but he was numthe now returning to his to shelter aged Peter. for the hoy was Berthilda's youngest brother and she had not seen him for a ber of years.

whose blindness to be rid was a of her bitter stroke to him and now. a child that would continue their family to posterity. God at length listened to their sighings the Duchess became a mother. . who. but the little Odile did not realize the dreams of Adalric. conceived a profound dislike for her. Years passed and Bereswinde did the joys of maternity.'' in the castle. to lay eyes He wanted . one would have said that they were conscious they carried. as the skies of not as know Adalric v/as gloomy Hchenburg. tion. not like the ancient boatman . when its the storm-clouds brood on sides. The horses ness as they bounded over the plain . and was inexhaustible on the subject of Bereswinde's goodness Odile. never on his daughter. ODILE. as of heart and the budding graces of whom if she regarded almost with devo- her faith gave her an intuition into also neighed with unusual hearti- God's designs relative to the child's future. presence it. he banishes her forever from Berthilda spoke for a long time. seeing himself frustrated in his hopes.22 ST.

ODILE S CHILDHOOD. were deceived. and the garden was famous in all that section of country for the beauty of its flowers the . it after its its had The bird chanted own manner. could not equal the singing of Odile's heart. nor the perfume of the other equal that which issued from the little exile. was nature's hymn all thanks- giving to the Lord of for this especial favor vouchsafed Alsace. but the fate of Alsace and Heaven's sweetest benediction to I do not know land so often blessed. 23 the fortunes of Caesar. The walls were covered with which always gave them a cheerful look. . they arrived at It was a decent beside a little house. but the passage of the it this if I seems to me that. situated traveling leisurely. in little caravan. It and the sun more of radiant. flowing ivy. which ravished the heart of God as she mur- mured her childish prayer. the flowers even diffused a sweeter odor. and the humble violet own note but the warbling of the one . the breeze was more delicately scented. pure and sweet soul of the After the cottage. pleasantly fresh brook.

loved her exceedingly. who was said by the Jews to be of Nazareth. only her borrowed abode. She loved to run. as lofty towers it Hohenburg and peared as if their white storks. although she was at that time very young. Jesus. tecting aegis Odile grew up. deed. \\ . had prepared for the young Saint a place equally perfumed. with- out which life He could which He had Odile's not share with her the appointed for her on the earth. like a gazelle. the city of flower's. of the to feel the pres- ence.24 rose and lily ST. grew there as in the Promised Land. hostess. for this poor little still heart there were needed a tenderness that more profound. Yet the Master did not fail also to lay thorns in the way of His servant. ODILE. but ap- she had some recollection of them. good mother In- Katharine. and soon understood that this pleasant home was was blind. as also in Berthilda and every one the house. She of and was unable formerly. and natural asylum which God vouchsafes the pro- children when He places them under of parental love.

a goodly sum of money One day the varlet found only to the family. and to mingle her voice with that songs and rock. .ODILE'S CHILDHOOD. She sometimes it. Bereswinde. night surprised her without her heeding mother Katharine had her from God. but she willingly assisted Berthilda when the and latter dispensed alms or help to the needy. which. The messenger always brought at the same time from the Duke and Duchess. over the heath of the neighboring wood. and from joining in the play of other children. but not exceedingly. of the linnet. besides exemption from service. 25 clasping the hand of an attendant. forgot herself in church. yet she was often seen suspending her joyous sitting pensively on some mossy Her blindness prevented her from using the spinning-wheel. sent at least from time to time to inquire for her beloved daughter. and task to go often and take performance of this in the the good dame grumbled somewhat through anxiety. at that period was not despised by the greatest ladies. being unable to go whither her heart called her.

not retain his no bitterness towards me.26 ST." '' Then. who was Bereswinde's At the abbey. Bereswinde at the same time loaded Berthilda with her thanks and numerous presents. she recognized him by and blushed at once with sadness and pleasure. bringing her hand to her heart which beat quickly. . my doubt. which Sacrament she had not yet received. ." will." returned Odile. Once he came with an order from the Duchess. There was exceeding regret among the . '' clapping her hands and leaping for joy. and The messenger did not dare reply to this. Odile would re- an education befitting her rank and would be prepared for holy baptism. He came and went every year. father ought to be quite satisfied. Odile at the cottage his voice. '' The noble Duchess has brought into the world a son to whom has been given the name of Hugh.''What news?" she asked. ceive Jaume. informing Berthilda that she was to be separated from her young mistress and that she was to place Odile in the hands of the Abbess of ow^n aunt. ODILE.

odile's childhood. church as was her One thought. which had not yet been conferred upon her. It consumed several days of traveling to reach Jaume many delays were made so that the . but for many a long day she had been Christian at heart and in desire. into the old woman's arms. 27 good peasant-folk. She longed for In the the regenerating water as the thirsty stag pants for the living waters. in the and she took refuge custom. leaving her venerable foster-father and who was wont to play and romp with Then they started on their journey. Odile felt as pained as they did. and she wept when Peter. her. consoled abbey she would obtain at last the privilege of baptism. . her. and particuminds with considerable adOdile threw herself also for larly filled their vice the journey. meanwhile. little princess might not suffer from fatigue. and Berthilda was to accompany the their young girl. although she was nearly twelve years of age. Speedy preparations for departure were made. but they were compelled to obey. The aged Katharine filled hamper with provisions.

separate from the afTectionate Berthilda. the virtuous Abbess Agnes. seems to *' me. having been arrival. At last the abbey of Jaume was reached. .28 ST. they began to love her almost immedHer heart failed when she had to iately. !" May God be blessed in a she exclaimed. so indicative of the innocent child. Dear child. *' answered with her amiable smile. and recognizing her modesty and simplicity. The religieuses gathered around her. hitherto you have seen by my eyes who will now see for you ?" God will provide. The of endeavored to dispel the weariness the way." she added I low voice to Berthilda." the child '' . notified of her niece's *' hastened to meet her. and Odile's grandaunt. that could now chant my Nunc Dimittis and that this house has received salvation from the Lord." Odile was soon delighted with the monastery. covering Odile " It with caresses. and put many questions to her latter '' guide about the country which they traversed. ODILE. which were united to an evenness and artlessness of manner." said Berthilda to her.

and she cared delicate plant that for this child as for a sphere in which to needed a heavenly atmogrow and flourish. she said. she cut ofif a lock of her hair. ''for then we shall us to see each other in heaven be sure that nevermore will we be separated. ." ful And as she could not give this faith- friend a part of her soul. and promised the young come girl that in a few days she would be- entirely and absolutely God's child. But it was the sacred water of Baptism which this chosen flower now desired so much. all Her aunt understood this. and as the flower pines and withers on account of drought. and bestowed it on her second mother as a pledge to testify her solici- of her great affection. and we to " the can easily perceive the design of a merciful Providence closed in transplanting it en- garden" of the monastery. 29 ''Ah! how good it will be. The Abbess was eager tude.ODILE^S CHILDHOOD. but I promise in this world not to forget you." . so Odile's health was in jeopardy on account of the thirst of her soul. beautiful blonde tresses.

and prayers. in all its She regained her color all freshness for her communicative conversation the nuns. Odile made hers in the It shadow of the tabernacle. took considerable time to realize Odile's deeply engraved in the ardent desire. and she won her became wishes the object of their tenderest care. She computed the time that separated her from the blessed moment of her Baptism. She was now so often at the foot of the altar that she might be said to have taken up her abode The sparrow and dove build their there. ODILE. that supreme moment that was to be followed by another so keenly desired. but the gentle child whispered to herself that was the exceeding happiness of her soul which gave life and strength to her feeble limbs.30 ST. From that time Odile was cheerful and happy. the it — moment when first she would be united for the time to her Lord and her God. but the history of this tardy Baptism is memory . nests in the cavities of rocks. Everybody said that the air of Jaume was salutary for the Duke of Alsace's daughter.

like- and Lorraine glory. . is a memorable day enshrined history of the country. and.ODILE'S CHILDHOOD. and written in letters in the golden Paris is by a just title of proud d' of St. which have vary as taken possession of and have been en- riched by popular imagination. of Alsace. 3 The different legends it. to details may and form . the hearts of the people. by God's miraculous intervention. Jeanne Arc Alsace wise claims her beloved Odile as her greatest and delights to repeat incessantly that never on earth lived so sweet a princess. nor in heaven so gracious a Saint. also the eyes of her in body. but the day on which Odile opened the eyes of her soul. . Genevieve.

was admonished by a mysterious voice to pro- ceed immediately to the monastery of Jaume and administer the Sacrament of regeneration But to the grand-niece of Abbess Agnes. the another precious soul was about to for be born The convent bells pealed forth their happy hymn. as we shall see the course of this chapter. great preparations were and around the abbey It to cele- brate worthily the festive event. When kingdom apparent the solemn day arrived on which Odile was to be of in made heiress to the eternal heaven. God's magnificent kindness did in not cease here. for was but in and gladness should be heaven. The Ehrard. THE MIRACLE AT ODILE'S BAPTISM.CHAPTER III. A Odile SINGULAR was incident happened saintly when priest baptized. and appeared (32) . just that joy air. who Hved a very secluded life.

ay her. where you m. so quick Anybody would is that this child and sure 3 her step to-day. tD be led. but alas! her .ODILE to S BAPTISM." Agnes said to crucifix. come to the church. and this extreme eagerness." the Abbess thought. saw clearly her way. was a prophetic intuition to Agnes of the astounding miracle which was to be in a wrought *' '' few moments." who was entirely recollected in God. and proceeded at the proper time to the young to the chapel girl's room to conduct her where Ehrard waited for her. new of The Abbess herself took charge the neophyte. I shall guide you along the way. per'* mitted herself to be led without saying a word. her walk. When I I am it say that she suffered herself mistaken. for she walked so required quickly that effort for some extraordinary as manifested in her aunt to keep pace with her. She found her niece prostrate before the " Come. the 33 of endeavor to make solemnities of this Easter and Pentecost jealous feast. Give me your arm and finish your prayers. say. Odile. my dear.

the good nun in a besought the Archangel cured the blindness of Raphael. to say both heat . says Scripture.34 large ST. Ehrard arose. and standing before the altar. But. to her at length spoke ileges. while Odile appeared to be ravished in God and sation of to be listening to the sweet conver- sees the some blessed spirit of Paradise who Lord ever face to face. who of old Tobias. pure as a lily in her white gown. about her happy privin and addressed her such touching in language that the whole assembly was tears. who consuming fire." Yet while Odile continued her prayers. that is is. ODILE. After the he administered the holy to this soul that priest's instruction. open eyes are low voice dull as usual. to apply his remedies this day for the cure of Adalric's afflicted daughter. rite of had desired so ardently and had comprehended its it grace and efifects so far as it is possible to do so here below. O marvellous mercy at the instant and condescension of God Baptism ! when a the Holy Ghost. the When young girl. came to the place appointed for her.

the tered was the Sacred altar. I first object on which Christian cen- the natural sight of the new leave you to Host exposed on the judge of the emotion of all who v/itnessed this wonderful spectacle. Odile. and she had reason favor the privilege of to happy be glad and to rejoice therein. so well prepared for His presence. took possession of this Httle heart. and the immediate of God event which awaited her of uniting her feeble humanity for the first time with the precious Body and Blood of her gracious Redeemer.ODILE'S BAPTISM. . however. who was actuated faith. souls ofifer melted their emulation to worthy acts of thanksgiving. and as it everything seemed was to be divine in this stupendous marvel. This was surely the day that the Lord had made for the little exile. and to fancy how. 35 and light. during the Mass which sacramental followed the in ceremony. in everything by the sense of this valued more highly than temporal becoming a child and the Church. He came with such overwhelming grace and strength that He illuminated also Odile's eyes.

asked pointed everything. . ODILE. Odile was surprised questions every thing. after another. On her way to this rendiction and gratitude to the dezvous she could not help giving utterance to joyful exclamations at the objects which appealed to her sight. Odile accompanied her aunt to a large hall. about laughed and depths wept alternately. the soil in gloated on the golden sunshine . she Her eyes actually blessed and adored God. She did not weary one her. but the privation so keenly felt by poor blind at creatures. but above all. where the poor and needy from the whole country around had gathered by invitation of the Mother-Abbess. the appearances of persons and things. of looking at the religieuses thing was so who had been so kind to new to her: that to which Then every the light of day. finished When and all the Holy Mysteries were had poured out their souls in bene- Lord who had done such wondrous things. from the of her newly sanctified heart. and all we are accustomed and of w^hich is which we enjoy.36 ST.

It was certainly a a source of stroke of good fortune.odile's baptism. for these wretched persons . Their sovereign's daughter wished to serve them to with her see that own hands. as place where the poor were assembled to receive alms in honor of the Baptism. As regarded material alms. giving from her soul as well as from her limited treasury. albeit much happiness. she was so generous that nothing would have remained satisfy for the last in line. they came at length to the After many stops.dayHght. springtide did not drink in sun's 37 more avidly the warming beams than she the first perShe often paused to ception of. look at "The sun. if a wise provi- sion has not kept something in reserve to such an exigency." we may well believe. She knew to speak a sympathetic w^ord to each one. and it was marvellous how graciously she distributed the help how would relieve their misery. centre and sire of light The keystone of the world-built arch of heaven. along the way.

38 ST. ing whatever about them. a for- Oxford their golden days under Writers have misrepresented also averred that those days of faith and benevolence. little Many of us in our days know or noth- ing concerning the monastic institutions of the Middle Ages. Joseph's Blatt. and Cambridge saw monastic rule. bereft of resources. has declared at a public meeting in London : I wish we had with us the friars of the good old days. * Father t Ibidem. ODILE. '^ own times of as Prime Minister still England. that the convent on this day doubled and trebled its usual bounty. . quoted in St. And to is whatever vitiated little knowlele- edge we pretend ments as of by such bigotry. who indeed gathered mer Prime Minister. not for themselves^ but for their fellow men!'^ Gladstone. we know nothAs potent an auLord Salisbury. falsity that misrepresentation and downright we may say that as far knowledge of the internal is workings of these monastic homes thority in our regarded. little when social misery was apparent and charity Karneagh.f alms.

There may have been exceptions Middle Ages. to towns and villages and to attract their . but they were everywhere the profited no rare. of those times more by of their fortunes than the Religious These ancient monks labored like indefatigable workingmen they were the first to clear with their own hand a major part of the soil of Gaul . to this general portrayal of the monasteries of the extremely rare (and such exceptions are to be found . as well as the ing. there was a traitor even . among do apostles) the monks to-day. asylums of prayer and learnof these and that the large possessions convents were the patrimony of the suffering members of Jesus Christ. or from motive.ODILE'S BAPTISM. If some laudable poor to life. 39 was dispensed solely for God's sake. and Germany. our great declaimers on social questions he would inform these reformers of society that the monasteries were the hearths of charity. to lay the foundations of cities. religious serf of those distant days were to some come he would soon bring to right reason .

by transcribing them and transmitting them to them wath malice. that has repaid who soul of cultivated in France a moral beauty of by implanting in rugged hearts the faith which that lovely country was so proud in in days when she gloried her title of *^ Eldest Daughter of the Church. the priceless documents and innu- merable manuscripts of previous ages. lived quite economically. neighborhood whole families a nation — —the nucleus of children. Undoubtedly^their domains were very exten- . free schools . wherein there was no charge for tuition applied themselves with incredible patience and assiduity to preserve the monuments of antiquity.40 ^ ST. and their inmates were not disposed to gratify ^^fancies or indulge in extravagance. It was the monks posterity. of for whom they secured the means of gaining a livelihood." These convents of men and women. ODILE. rich though they were in lands and stock. food was frugal and not over-abundant in them. contempt and falsehood. The monks also were occupied with the education for this and they purpose founded schools.

but the truth abides eter- and however maliciously they may have been painted. much-belauded us that these monastic depositaries of charity were never deficient in their task. It is not. yet we cannot change the past. 41 for but they constituted only a trust religious and benevolent purposes. and the wish their sins. perhaps. But see how far we have wandered from nally. in they were actuated either by devotion or by to do something in expiation of able to carry The abbeys were less into execution the wishes of testators with more readiness and expense than History tells official channels of charity in our times are wont to do. sive. and they dis- tributed with prudence and inteUigence the gifts of the Lord. in this light that they are represented in our days to the popular mind.odile's baptism. Wealthy persons desired after their death that some portion of what they had received from God this should be given to the Church. Odile in the consideration of these ancient . We shall speak more extendedly of the nuns in Chapter VII.

no robber comes to take her away provided a ** ! became from us. and noble house. brave esquire. and she soon model of devotion and meekness. message at the The latter was engaged time in reciting the office in the choir with the nuns. influences. indicative of the lackey of a rich monastery door.42 ST. he said. knocked at the He was in a great hurry." The robber. '' She was sent for and received Whence do you come. at we have been only tracing out what passed Surrounded by Jaume as elsewhere. worn out by miles of travel. we have her. but no. the stranger." an- . and was charged with an important for Odile. noble lady. came. ''Is my dear mother Bereswinde in good health? as I daily beseech of God. and what news do you bring?" she asked. One evening a courier. scarcely left memories for ." " God has heard you. presence!" Agnes said. however. blessed her soul developed as sweetly as the blooming rose. How happy she is How angelic her ''AH will be well. ODILE. but of proud bearing.

e our forests with him . for he scarcely fifteen years of age. and burst . notwithstanding his extreme Hugh . * from you any longer. not to be separated said. Rhine is youth. cannot now fail to love her. yesterday. w^hen I pursued the gam.' in Odile hid her head her hands. and that Adalric. Sir my master since your de- side of the finer has not his equal on this you could not look at a horseman. Many times he has spoken to me of his dear in sister Odile. whose joy was manifestly great when he ascertained that she recovered her sight. generosity and piety. your brother. to come to you you have doubtless learned that four sons have been . Go. at length. bring her to me. himself. given by heaven to parture. I ignorant of niy message to have been deputed by the young lord Hugh.odile's baptism. he . In a word. self is '' But Bereswinde heryou. all Adalric finds in him his chivalric tastes but he virtues : possesses especially Beresvvinde's her goodness. 43 swered the traveler. depart for Jaume tell Odile that her mother cannot be comforted in her ab- sence.

at her father's castle — all these thoughts crossing one another caused a vio- combat in her soul. she said: and answering the ^' To-morrow I shall leave with you for Ho- henburg. ODILE. into tears. seeing for the first time de- her mother and meeting this brother sired her with so who much impatience. then her anxiety about the reception which would be accorded her lent lent. Her her joy regret at leaving her dear in solitude. she knelt in She remained siprayer. man-at-arms." . then calm came.41- ST.

presented itself with gladness at Odile's small window. and she repeated a last prayer (45) . always greeted with extreme pleasure first visit of the King of the luminaries. It sported merrily on the lofty hell tower. tears coursed silently down her cheeks. and particulary of gratitude to the Lord of all . much sadness in her restless- Her eyes roamed with ness and melancholy over the enchanting full horizon which enthralled her young imagination. ODILE'S SUITOR.. but to-day there was too soul for this. betokening a day.CHAPTER THE DUKE OF IV. and quietly conveyed its window of the cells morning smile to the in which dwelt the It daughters of the cloister. full The sun arose and bright the next beautiful morning. . Ever since this child of benediction had felt her she this eyes to be opened to the sense of light. SUABIA. and drew from her heart accents full of poetry.

difificult task to gain her father's love sals she wanted to make his vas- happy. Her not be such a . At that stole in this niece's chamber. nal contention of the and the calm which brought. her confidence in God had perhaps^ with some harmless illusions. the She glance everything. turned towards Hohenburg. Gradually she lost her apprehensions.46 for the ST. and to open with her return an era of happiness in the seigneurial domains of Alsace . mothers whom in Providence had pro- vided for her this asylum of innocence and peace. At . bounded with joy at the prospect of embracing once more her mother she even calculated that it would heart . moment. morning devotion. and finally she smiled. as was her her custom. she undertook to look at everything in the ideal. the thoughtlessness habitual to her years. mingled. the intergirl. at the window to Abbess entered her understood at a sunbeam salute her. and not permitting her mind to be transported at the beck of after this Her thoughts. ODILE.

" Odile simply replied. Fear nothing in leaving But me. Poor princesses '' only too often the mere playthings of the ambition of others. The Abbess was in silent.odile's suitor. ** Courage. give our heart. however. she had confidence is the future . of Oh When we " ! what will you do?" I would not recall earnest. Meanwhile. she threw herself into the arms of Agnes and began to weep vehemently.'* God will keep me in His love. what God guards well guarded. we give it in '* good Certainly. my child !" the holy '* mured into her ear. if some one should sue Spouse for that love whfch binds you to the virgins. Odile' could no longer restrain herself." it from Christ. Courage ! nun murthe Lord will Jesus to whom you tell have given yourself always shield you. us. dear aunt. in but you situations are. 47 the sight of her aunt. voices on every side were call- . alas may one day particularly ! find yourself trying.

the journey was interrupted to partake of some repose and to allow Odile angel of her native land. and was inexhaustible formation respecting the people of burg. ODILE. to become forever the tutelary Towards the middle of the day. the herald-at-arms spoke to Odile at length of all that would henceforth enter in his in- into her life.oderated her companion's . but as she was accustomed to converse with God for the purpose of finding a proper moit tive for her actions rather than seeking in human vals views. she recollected herself at inter- and thus m. pawing the ground impatiently in the courtyard of the monastery Odile must set ofif immediately. the shade of an old walnut. The noble daughter of Alsace now returns to the castle-home of her fathers. Her speedy courser was . Hohen- Odile listened to him with pleasure. after this short respite the two travelers pursued their route. ing for the traveler. if she wished to reach Hohenburg before nightfall. and conducting like Eliezer of old Rebecca to her master's dwelling. to recruit her strength ip.48 ST.

the empire it of hearts. children of God. because accord- they are nearer to^divine charity I leave you to fancy the exceeding joy of the young girl at meeting Prince Hugh. discreetly on a con- This was the signal agreed to recognize in upon. turning by the court of thrice honor. The faithful servant. yes. and Odile. . in the sweetness of her charity she began to feel that is now to say. found herself brother. unable she was led. vivacity. in the The star had barely appeared sky when the two wearied horses finished the ascent of the majestic slope of Hohenburg. that they would be the that the earth. to experi- ence trial for first name Lord. was the for her._eyen more definitely. but the was reserved of the as for the Apostle of the nations. rapped cealed door. 49 In the quietude of her conscience she already tasted of the beatitude promised to the peacemakers. lot of the meek. and I am 4 sure at that moment Hugh would not have given his sister for ten provinces. .ODILE'S SUITOR. where every- the arms of her like The saints have hearts body ingly else.

50
It

.

ST.

ODILE.

was

settled that

Bereswinde should not be
till

informed of her son's exploit
as to the best

the followall

ing morning, and then they would

consult
in-

means

of

conveying their
Odile

telligence

to

Adalric.

went to her
of
in-

much-needed repose under the protection
our Blessed

Lady,

whom

she devoutly

voked

Mother smiled from heaven on her earthly child and
every night.

The Virgin

bent lowly over her with tenderness, as

for-

merly she hung over the crib

of the

Word
is

made
of

flesh,

her first-born Son, the Principle
for

her two-fold maternity,

she

the

mother both of God made man and of men ransomed by God. When Odile awoke the next morning, she at first cast a glance around her new room. It was no longer the cell of the monastery, but a sumptuous apartment in the castle of
the

Dukes

of Alsace.

Do

not think that she

valued too highly this princely luxury; she

was too good a Christian to estimate the wealth of this world more than it was worth
in reality,

and she labored

for a better treas-

ODILE'S SUITOR.

5

I

ure in heaven, which robbers can not steal

away.
this, for

She was

in

no wise to be blamed for

the only lasting thing

we can ever

find

what we have sent to the other world before us, and the Princess Odile acted in everything with heavenly wisdom and great After she arose and said her love of God.
is

drew aside the blue silk curtain which covered the window and looked out on lovely nature, so enchanting and splendid around castellated Hohenburg, but her thought did not follow her look. There was
prayers, she

one fixed idea pre-occupying her: to see her
mother.

been told

moment, Bereswinde, who had at an early hour by Hugh, opened the door of the room; she was followed by her four sons, three of whom w^ere yet quite young. The meeting was followed by such happiness for Odile, that in its ex-

At

this

all

cessiveness
heart.

it

almost broke the chords of her
so

The dew-drop never
traveler,

much

rejoiced

the thirsty flower, nor the song of the bird
the

weary

as

did the caresses of

52

ST.

ODILE.
her
child's

the Duchess dilate
soul.

affectionate

We
more

can easily

believ^e that the

was formed
from nature

at that

bond which happy moment was even
proceeds
tie

strengthful than that which
;

it

resembled rather the

that

binds the Blessed abov^e.

When
how

the excite-

ment

of this

meeting passed away, the next
the arrival

matter for consideration was
,

of Odile could

be communicated to Adalric,

and

all

agreed that Bereswinde should

be

charged with the delivery
her husband.
notify sively

of this message to She accordingly proceeded to her lord, and spoke to him so persua-

and pointedly that Adalric, who, on

the other hand, had for

some time compunche wished

tion of conscience regarding his treatment of
his daughter, assured his wife that

to testify

towards his child his entire love and
In order to prove the truth of
fes-

friendship.
his

words, he gave orders that suitable

tivities

should be celebrated at Hohenburg
seven days.

for a period of

During

this

week, there was nothing but hunting-parties,

she visited the poor and afflicted of the surround- ing country. and had continued in the abbey of Jaume. she resumed the tranquil which she had formerly led under Berthilda's roof. she was able to relieve much . she ravi6hed the adm. to every of at Her presence was a sunbeam home. As she had now wealth her disposal. ence the Odile conducted herself angelic modesty that to her with such grace and sympathy of all If it went out whenever she appeared. put tilt on their shining suits of armor to courteously with each other in the presof the ladies. 53 banquets and tournaments. which dried away the tears pain and sorrow. and following the beaten paths of the mountain. laying aside their tight-fitting coats. of the angels. the knights. brim in large bowls and towards even- ing. horn made the deer their lurking-places to the . Every morning she left the castle. of the forest The hunting bound from the Rhenish wine flowed . week's festivities When the were life termii- nated.odile's suitor.iration could not be such a difScult task for her to charm poor mortals.

her to-day. and what is going on in the life of a A cloud arose also in Odile's beautiful more the hour of trial came. ST. and the poor of the her by the ever name which recognized generations have The Good Princess. As such Alsace knows Have you sometimes seen zon and obscure its in the sky a cloud threatening to ascend from the horibrightness? Have you seen this dark spot suddenly increasing and impregnating the atmosphere with thick mist. ODILE. and once — . she gave of but whatever from the promptings country began to future call a compassionate heart and for Jesus' sake.54 misery. terrified. she gave. The Saint was compelled to face this the cruel storm. and to add by patience virtue of perfect souls— to the vehemence of her love for God. veils his face in the firmament? Have you ever felt the analogy between these phenomena of nature soul? . until the sun. But her heart was well clear sky.

But our young Saint had also made her choice infinitely better. made him He was much taken with Odile. and he could not have chosen better. and justness an ideal ruler.odile's suitor. 55 of grief to endure the effects and and she understood completely the truth of what has been expressed in our days by a woman of fine talent: *' not suffered knows nothing. one suffered much. and in a Christian manner. he could not withdraw her image from his mind truly the Prince had made a good choice. his vassals Frederic. his martial bearing. mind and heart. one suffered One who has who has who has somewhat knows something. one of the most illus- trious princes of his time." Among the guests invited to participate in the festivities of Hohenburg was a young Gerlords were man Duke. steeled trial. lofty sentiments. and since he had seen her. Many on both sides of of the Rhine. and would have no other spouse spoken of except the Lord Jesus. has the key to the secrets of eternity. . More- over.

young ruler of had already made her promise to her aunt. Deprived since childhood milk. and dazzled by the prospect of this unex- pected alliance. of all things. the Abbess.S6 ST. Odile. wished also to dispose of his daughter's hand to the ardent Suabia. Master of a of events Thou who art the and men. My father and mother had forsaken me." she said to Him. At the height heart to be stolen away. Lord. and still more to God . . '*Thou who dost command the elements and appease their wrath. she would not suffer her Meanwhile appeals became urgent orders and threats succeeded to supplication and entreaty. Frederic returned to Alsace he imparted to the Adalric the latter. even mother's care. deprived almost of her I have been ever fostered by Thy favor. . feeHngs of his heart. ODILE. Lord. Thy bosom was the refuge of the forlorn child. of the tempest the young virgin sought help from Him who. didst shelter me. and have hoped under the shadow of Thy wings. but Thou. by one '' word. calmed the fury of the waves. however. assist Thy servant. .

it belongeth to deliver Thy servant from danger and to protect my soul/' Odile arose from this prayer more peaceful and confident. '' rest and peace for her Odile. and cannot go back on my word. But ." the lord of to I Hohenburg said. and now that they endeavor to make me break the promise which I made to Thee of consecrating my whole life to Thy service. Adalric did not consider himself vanquished he would make a gentle girl's will. You owe to your beauty and virtue this dis- . Lord. and gazing at the heavens as she were seeking there mind. having placed her virginity under the protection of Christ's power. last attempt to force the He rustic found her one evening sitting on a bench the . that this time I will be have promised you to Prince know Frederic. 5/ who wandered from asylum to asylum.ODILE*S SUITOR. to Thy power. and to perjure myself in Thy sinless presence. she w^as following with her the eyes glorious sunset away ofif in if horizon. " I want you obeyed.

nor can retract the vow which I have made to Jesus Christ. which will be honorable for us and of will extol our house in the pres- ence all waiting for Germany. To and be brief." Lord Adalric appeared censed . I ''I have already spoken." Odile replied. and that you King ** ! will be as free to serve Him in Frederic's palace as you would be in the cloister. command you my orders with a good grace. I do not accept your to execute refusal. and will forthwith make *' the necessary preparations for the mar- riage. The Duke is now your consent. ODILE. to be greatly in- he uttered these last of voice which admitted of words in a tone no reply. and ." Father. you say sider of a vassal faith with his lord? traitor What would who violated his sworn Would you not conand felon? him a May the of heaven protect me against treason " and felony The King of heaven knows that you are but a child without experience.58 ST. tinguished alliance.

.

it.'-^^idm ti^^^^^i^^f^ I have made a vow to the Lord. even if it were to cost me my . and I will accomplish life.

to claim his betrothed. well earned after and servants took the day*s labors. side. understood that she could not remain at Hohenburg. overcome his daughter's resistance. and masters their rest. at length. who if it murmured softly: I *' I have made a vow to it. with busy air Hugh seemed Bereswinde recommended Odile to God. in with satisfaction at the magnificent decorations which were apparent on every servants of the . the In the meantime German Duke announced his arrival. and will accomplish life. as he believed. everybody said. Adalric.ODILE S SUITOR. he had come. The eve of Frederic's coming v/as at hand. All at once a secret door." even were to cost me my Odile. The house came and went to be delighted . . The castle put on a festive appearmarked contrast with the thoughts of the Princess in whose honor the majestic structure was clothed in unusual splendor. the Lord. 59 departed without hearing his daughter. looked ance. The mist the castle of the night gradually enveloped Vv^ith its winding-sheet. proud in having.

was taking refuge for a second time For a moment she appeared to and leaned against the trunk her heart failed her of . Agathas. . a slender bling figure. glided over the it mossy ground was the daughter in Duke of Alsace. her her to Hugh whose affection had brought the home from which she was now of her withdrawing own will.6o ST. leading out to a solitary path in the forest. opened noiselessly. sacrificing her repose in this world. apparition. resemof the much an . ODILE. hesitate tree as if of a it was the re- membrance brother her beloved mother. she in flight. — of the Agneses. — it was these recollections that arose before her distracted mind and lessened her courage. What would she do? Return to the lordly dwelling and celebrate the earthly marriage-feast? or roam at random. to be found worthy to celebrate one day the virgins heavenly nuptials ever follow with the who the Lamb? of She first thought of the centuries. young martyrs whose history she had the often heard Berthilda relate. Disguised beggar's cloth- ing.

e's suitor. and she exclaimed resolutely : '^ Onward .odii. 6i their and Cecilias who sealed with their blood union with Christ. A !" sweet smile passed over her countenance.

arms to receive the princely The long the escort of of Germans filed into court honor. proudly seated on his best steed and arrayed one's mind. ADALRIC'S GRIEF AND HIS QUEST FOR At forth day-break. He spurred on horse so vigorously before the main entrance that and the animal wheeled about so gracefully it was a marvel to behold him. recalled to by his royal bearing. on entirely pacific contrary. and announced rival. and so to speak.CHAPTER ODILE. All the Duke Frederic's arpeople of Hohenburg were up in afoot. reflect and. hid- supposed that the lady (62) . which were repeated again and again by the ringing mountain echoes. Frederic. his countenance did not. Frederic of his thoughts. visitor. the if god of war the in person. V. his cheerful dispositions. the hunting-horn sounded its vibrating notes. in brilliant armor.

63 den behind some tapestry. cious dining-hall. the bird had spread wings and flown away. informed that his found. a messenger was sent her to her future room to conduct husband. Adalric and his Meanwhile he alighted Hugh advanced to meet and receive son : him courteously.ADALRIC'S GRIEF. but Odile was nowhere to answer the voices that called her. he was offered wherewith recuperate his the strength. and had was supposed that Odile was to now ready. but touched this viands which were Surely the Duke Frederic was not hungry a sufficient interval day ! When it elapsed. but the poor prince lost his time and pains. white Adalric having been daughter could not be towering passion into a and The castle halls echoed and reechoed with Odile's name. charged with this mission but the cage was its empty. according the instructions given her the evening before by her father. . Her maid was to her . to When he entered the spahe hardly served. despair. fell pure. found the spectacle to her taste.

attendants began to explore the vicinity. a Christian mother above all. even while her soul was wrung with anguish. Adalric knew to chastisement of his folly for man was suffering the and that it was sheer dispute with God His rights. This day which had been proclaimed as a festivity had now become a day of mourning. and the Saint of Alsace seemed to have quitted the country after the mianner of spirits. Seeing that all search was of no avail within the castle-walls. ment and chagrin and Bereswinde's grief yet this brave woman. Nobody could tell anything exact about Odile. Bereswinde was a noble character. leav- ing no mark on the soil whereby she could be traced. . information was lodged everywhere. that he fault. You may easily imagine Frederic's astonish. and understood that she was acting by Like the mothers of the martyrs. ODILE.64 ST. divined the reason of her daughter's flight God's inspiration. she offered silently her sacrifice to the Lord and blessed Him. He understood also that his daughter's brow.

65 which would be encircled with a royal diadern in eternity. now too dilatory. without doubt. having with them for the last time their illustrious guest. and that the flame of chaste love which lived triumphant in this virginal heart and which was enkindled by Christ's all-powerful grace. would would appreciate that if dawn when he he were honored by most powerful a desirable alliance with the prince in Germany. could not stoop to accept a worldly crown. and the day. in the The Knight's dormant faith by mortal awoke depths of his consciousness.ADALRIC S GRIEF. and 5 . He allowed some of these reflections. who do- on the morrow was to depart main for which he had come to the to his large to do homage daughter of the Duke of Alsace. could not be extinguished means. however had an upright and loyal soul. he would value as greater glory the union which bound Odile to the King of kings and the Lord of all. when the family were gathered in a leafy bower. F'rederic. and which she had nobly refused. to escape from his lips during the following week.

perhaps. my heart went . great love for her. Ever since my childhood's days. : '*that Odile was consecrated to God? withstanding would have been the first to say to her Odile. I have nought to ofifer you but a I ' my passing glory. forever. I shall never be comforted for havinglost Odile. great Prince. ! By St. for us to too remedy our misfortune. I when I was but diffi- dently told that had a sister. you have made a vow to the Lord. but He to whom you Michael belong by a just will have you reign with Him eternally in heaven. . did Why Not- you not tell me. God. " sentiments worthy a Christian prince." he said to Adalric. ! to every lord his to honor I would never have yielded you any prince of my time. the riches of a few fleeting da}^s title . would have considered him a rash man who had my the boldness to stand up as and with him I would have measured sharp weapons but I give you up to rival. ODILE. sighing. for by a Knight's I faith.66 ST. you must fulfil it. late now.' " *'it is '"Alas!" replied Hugh.

ADALRIC'S GRIEF.
out to her,
tion
it

6^
affecI

seemed, with the greatest

which

a brother could have,

and

was

always accompanied by preference
childish rambles

in

my

by those servants who had
birth

known her from
her.
I

and could speak about

had a

lively solicitude for her at heart,

and grew up in these sentiments until the day when the subterfuge of which you know

came

into

my

mind, and

I

sent

my

page as

a safe escort to the poor exile to bring her

back to Hohenburg. Ah why must Odile be stolen again from me, and how foolish I
!

was
that

to urge

my

father to force her

on a way
she

was not hers!
has

Where
of

is

now?
the

What

become

her?

Perhaps
is

daughter

of the

Alsatian

Duke

begging
Perforest

her bread like the lowest of our

serfs.

haps she

is

wandering

in

some savage

and has found only a deserted cave for Perhaps but I do not dare think shelter. perhaps she has died far away from of it us, of hunger and want."

When
last

the

young nobleman

uttered these
his

words

in a

choking voice, he buried

68

ST.

ODILE.
his tears.

head

in his

hands to conceal

At the
in its

same moment, a heavy

step was heard in the

path leading through the park, crushing

passage the dry leaves which autumn had detached from the
tere
trees.
It

was the Abbot

of a

neighboring monastery, at thesam^e time aus-

and meek, whose reputation for sanctity and learning was well known throughout the
country.
^*

It

is

God
greet

who
him.

sent

you.

Father,"
the

said Adalric, directing his
visitor

way towards
words
I

to

*'Your
peace.

may

alone bring

me some

have been

very culpable

in a tw^o-fold

manner towards

my
will

daughter.
forgive

Do you
this,

think that the Lord

me and

send her back to me?"

When

he said

he drew the Abbot into a

secluded path where they found a seat
of stone

made

and covered with
is

a cushion of moss.

*'God

infinitely merciful,

my

son," the
I

monk

replied, seating himself;

'^therefore

have confidence that He will take pity on your grief and not reject your repentance. I think that I can assure you in His name

ADALRIC'S GRIEF.
Odile lives and you
consider
First,
will see

69

her again; but
!

how great has been your rashness when heaven deigned to give you this
made her
a hateful object

blessed child, the infirmity which she brought

with her at birth
to you.
self,

The
of

blind one, Adalric, was yourof the riches and your family, while

who was dreaming only
the world
for

honors
she

who was deprived

of the light of

day was

able to see spiritually in God's eternal truth.

Now

you are aware that she was a good,

pious child in her exile, and instead of nursing rancor in her heart towards you, she, on

the

contrary,

prayed

incessantly
to

welfare.

Since her

return
I

your Hohenburg,
for
in

you have seen
delighted
child,
all
it

as well as

how everybody
how

the castle and surrounding country has been

wfih

her company, and
in

the

seemed,

her simplicity touched
with the magic

who approached her
happiness.

wand
sin

of

But

see.

how ambition and
headlong into

smoke have made you
against

fall

God and your

strove to mak(j these

daughter, when you same views enter nito

do not deceive me. was not this desire which you blame me. if my eyes the most pleasant in nature. which is See. ST. The very animals undergo this law." said the ever present to save its honor/' right.ind. That which is instinct in these small creatures elevated to the dignity of . but that heart said to you 'Halt. is ''You are quite Duke. " and my guilt now my for But tell me. ODILE. the circumstances were dif- God does not'only not forbid us from providing for the temporal welfare of our children. there is above me a pretty nest of wrens. advantageous marriage after all a was it not very legitimate desire?" if " Assuredly. from which I perceive the male and female going and to which re- turning on hurried wing fortune may give them and little to bestow their whatever neighborhood daily pittance on their to find in the is ones.^0 Odile's heart . but he also commands us to do so. ferent. peremptorily the storm upon it stole and when you drew away from you to Father. this desire of an m.' it. for Odile.

whereby he accompHshes through duty what God commands him to This being determined. Parents have over their children only the which the Creator has given them. has some parto certain ticular design or plan in regard souls. hence He is wont to the designs the vouchsafe generously in this world and in the other His rewards to those from whom He exacts great sacrifices. But the God whom we serve is so good that He does not assert His rights. not to leave them first the hands rights of their and principal Master. How many . the If the Father of souls.ADALRIC'S GRIEF. we must also do. subordinated of in all and these rights are things to Most High whose vassals they are simply. admit that the soul is nobler and more val- man who and is a virtue uable than the body. it common seems to to and that it interests of is me a great injustice on the part of parents. and deigns lives to elevate them above the mankind. who are such according in nature only. Lord who created them. a virtue in it 7 is endowed with reason.

as you attempted to do. therefore I engage that the people of the world would be worthy great pity. and the enjoy- ment thing. that their children are a hundredif more happy than they would be of this they were attached to the world. in which some do penance and acts of virtue for others. Again. consolations feel forlorn world. the generous toward a spirit life which urges certain souls perfect for themselves and I more more beneficial for others. happiness if is no inconsiderable faith. ODILE. have also said that parents who in place no obstacle in the way they fold of their children's vocation receive this many First. they really have they will understand the dignity and extent . if they could thwart.7^ fathers tion to ST. and mothers owe their eternal salvathe tears and prayers which their children have shed and said in the Lord's bosom ! How many families are visited with most plentiful blessings because some one among them has interceded incessantly for them is to Christ ! Saints a beautiful The Communion of doctrine.

" You give me some relief. *'How exceedingly right in Odile was. and this privilege is still the portion of those who." the Duke in the of Alsace views '' replied. another great benefit which proceeds from proximity to infinite love (which makes us love more vehemently those to whom we is owe our affection than natural sentiment . after the example of the Apostles. that receive the blessing of giving one of their own to the service of God. of the call 73 made by God will to their sons it and daughters. to I all the advantages for families. Lord Adalric.ADALRiC'S GRIEF. of which have spoken. the other at the in Yet what she sought thus she some measure obtained. have left all to follow Jesus the Saviour. James and John. asked of the Lord for them the two principal places in His kingdom. and value highly. of His throne and left. one at the right mother of the hand. The two Apostles. and how mistaken I was my Let me add moreover. for they will be in veritable honor '' Kingdom of His Father.

your presence. to salute the noble Bereswinde. and it like to think that shall recall late. Conrad." Ah in ! well. were playing around ing her sorrow. before re- turning to the convent. make now a vow to give to my daughter this domain of Hohenburg in order that she may establish here a monastery. . Father. scarcely suspectlot of — the happy childhood. may God give me back I Odile. to I your memory. But it is growing and wish. filial capable of). and Hubert. Otto. ODILE. and then withdrew. her. bring Will you be kind enough to me to her?" Adalric conducted the grove where the Duchess was. I am a man of my word. the great benefit that is love nowhere better developed than '' in those who and are especially consecrated to the Lord. and will hold faithfully to '^I receive this I my promise." promise. Hugh and Frederic were also there. Abbot towards the Her three youngest sons. The monk invoked God's blessing on all. my son. which know^ not how to weep except between smiles.74 ST.

and he began to fear exceedingly that he would nevermore see the princess in this world. joyful who came at the sound of the hunting-horn to the Alsatian castle to claim Odile's hand. he had in vain sent out scouts to explore the villages and forests his efforts were useless. but he prince was no longer the vivacious. . He returned his estates. -)^ heaven and the Duke * * * * * For a whole year Adalric searched in the vicinity of his for his daughter home and the outlying districts. however. He had promised in vain magnificent rewards to any one who could give information about Odile. spirit. still a secret. did not betray but rather a masculine seriousness.ADALRIC'S GRIEF. perhaps he would find there a resolution already formed. His countensadness of ance. though it was which concerned the King of of Suabia. . and it a long interval ensued before he saw to again. 75 On well the following day. and if some prophet had the privilege of reading his soul. Frederic bade fareto Hohenburg.

One day castle a peasant. and asked faithful speak to the Duchess it was the Berthilda.j6 ST. and could not believe that she would not be but. Bereswinde prayed ardently to the Blessed Virgin to give her back her child. whose strik- open smiling countenance resembled ingly Odile's. and being a girl of good . ODILE. ascertaining from the reports spread about the country that the child of her adoption had disap- peared. and He her. in comfort She found some caressing her little Hubert. at times. desired to have some intelligence about the event and had made afoot the long journey which separated her from Hohenburg. who. she in heard.woman to came to the . alone knows if '* God my daughter yet retired. she could be comforted no longer for Odile's absence. became also discouraged her long expectancy. is who watches over the Berthilda shared noble lady's grief." and to For His love lives. 'VAlas!" said Bereswinde weeping. it what place she has she left all.

" Adalric recognized the it . by this Poor little do not hesitate to say means your search will be suca monastery? am. as the Duke had given his word as a knight not to molest her. if will return to her home. Do you not think that it would be the best policy to have it proclaimed by heralds on all sides that the Duke she of Alsace promises his daughter. 7/ judgment and decorum. and for I to give her vow made some suit- able place thing that that.ADALRIC'S GRTEF. justice it of this was announced with great ado on both sides of the Rhine that the Princess Odile need not fear to return to Hohenburg. not to oppose her wishes on the subject of her to the Most High. she gave advice that ''Madame. she will take pre: cautionary measures not to come back. be- cause she values her than vow at a greater price her life. was listened to with readiness when Odile knows that you are trying to find her place of concealment and has heard your project spoken of. advice and approved of . I cessful.

for she and '' as Pray. but in peace of mind. smiling. in the suburbs of Freiburg under the guise of a beggar.CHAPTER While heaven and moved to find Odile. me is from what country you came? Heaven ** my real country. ODILE BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. ''and am journeying (78) . origin. In this place. my dear. Several times inquisitive persons attempted to discover her was as beautiful as a queen modest as a saint. earth were thus being where was she? She was living in the poverty of Christ. but nobody was subtle enough to draw her secret from her. VI. many came attracting all willingly to her assistance." repeated often the daughter of a to '^ woodman who was at least so kind as share with the princess her frugal meal. tell pray. for in she had kept even her rags the gift of hearts to her." replied the I unknown girl.

in the cabins and in the turned on the subject of Odile. People of all classes and castes human- . who. very much afifected. I it ." A sorrow pervaded these words. where she had shed her first tears and offered to God the first-fruits of her life. One beautiful day. was reared under the roof of a cottage.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. the humble shelter which she had graced with her infantile smiles. young you have the appearance of a and certainly did not come from I a cottage?" "Yes. ''that fine lady. towards tion." said the quirer. had of left her fate a mystery to be unraveled. by her flight. state of The whole province was in a commotion." Odile replied. ''But do you know. of high this castles. as she recollected with happiness and grati- tude her first years which were passed in the good Berthilda's home. 79 I am so overwhelmed with I afflic- indeed see that in am not in my deep in- country this wretched world. the talk runaway Princess ful and power- family. Adalric's heralds arrived at Freiburg.

as we have seen. or have been ready to make an ox latter- out of an egg by dint of increasing the A sensation is especially food for conversaat tion. the woodman's daughter. noble. did not go about gabbling with her neighbors.8o ity. like Enoch and on a find fiery chariot. Everybody else Freiburg told of everyOdile's body the . It is nut to day that they have begun to chatter and gossip. have been inquisitive and curious in all ages. she left her house and proceeded slowly friend passed to the neighboring church. ODILE. gave nearly every day half of She her brown bread to the pretty pauper. some even went so far as to say that she had ascended. . middle and plebeian. already highly elaborated by seething brains but. and was dwelling with them in a region whither nobody could go and her. nor bring her ingenuity to bear on the account of Odile's flight which had been . who. But the best manoeuvre tongues was the one made in all this battle of by Rose. miarvelous story disappearance Elias. a less vulgar inquirer. ST. where she knew that her beggar- many hours at her devotions.

'' laughing as for three if her that would Do you know it.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. ! By St. in I followed her and joined her on the porch. and so great was the respect which she inspired in all that nobody would presume to interrupt her. for Odile's prayers were not finished." claimed. 8 Rose carried her plan in her head unknown to anybody. and the young lady's countenance appeared to her a^ luminous as a seraph's. when she raised her eyes toward the tabernacle and adored her God. At least Rcse could look at her at her ease. But. When her devotions were at an end. have been praying *' hours waiting for you?" I I do not doubt 6 Rose. break. because did . but she was much bothered as to how she could put adroitly and successfully the questions which she had determined to ask. the mendicant arose and left the sacred place. it was first of all necessary for her to exercise her patience. bothered she was. softly the young observer dear. however. Michael my we were going to bed " thought that she exheart I there.

it at the loss of his fled from his fn domain. who. and also to bestow on her castle of Hohenburg for a monastery. much afflicted daughter." " Hohenburg A monastery " Odile could say no more. yes ! tell me?" in For the past two days there Freiburg. Odile.82 ST." who are bearers of important intelli- When Rose at looked searchingly slightly pale. ''What then ! country You are the only person in the What who is ignorant of it. very urgent to ''Well. has caused all to be proclaimed places that he swears to if leave her at liberty not to marry it seem his good to her. ODILE. report says. You can fancy her as! — • ! . Do you not know that the Duke of Alsace. but she recovered so quickly from her emotion that nobody would have hardly noticed " it. but have you something not hear you enter . and she replied in a is tone of voice the matter?" already calm. who became and placed her hand on her breast. she at-arms gence. to has been quite an uproar which city the Duke of Alsace has sent mensaid these words.

But are you then towards me the best *' resolved to return to Kohenburg?" . Since the Lord Adalric.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. '' I guessed it well. shall still scarcely dare look at you did embrace you Odile . makes an offer of peace to me in the name of the King of heaven and the gift of an abbey. my father. and they will be delighted to see me serving the Saviour Jesus and our Blessed Lady in your company. joy." '* What do you say?" answered '' taking her gently by the hand I shall always love you. hereafter. and never the sweet pity in which you testified with my misery by relieving me you had. will you bless God with me and come to live in my monastery ?" I shall follow you wherever you go. jump- ing with gratification and clapping her hands. as I hitherto. tonishment." exclaimed Rose. for now that I know you less are the daughter of a prince. '* I am all at I once much eased and pained. forget my dear Rose. and above all 83 the feeling of gratitude that welled up in her heart to God. My parents have a heavy burden in their many children.

and weakness.84 '' ST. ODILE. and the time has I come when I ought to go back to her. and would reward. the This would be making of the heralds' fortunes. who was sought where. and in less than an hour. My beloved mother." Rose's tongue was speedily unloosed Adalric's messengers sult of. protection of the Master of the universe he in does not hope in vain. Bereswinde. for their prince valued very highly this pearl. was at length found. a long year. he not contravene his promise. the neighborhood. For have besought in Christ with tears to assist me my poverty help me. loyal to his word if and know that he is he has promised me life liberty to consecrate will my to the Lord. longs. for her daughter's return. having no one to defend nor He that puts his hope in God and not in man abides under the all-powerful . knew to of the happy for re- their mission Freiburg. . them magnificently for finding it. without doubt. They were all to a man delighted also. The every- Pearl of Alsace. I know my father. . day and night.

just as see Odile. to ^ Tfx the ^ assistance ^ 7K ^ • Hohenburg was in holiday when Prince Frederic came to not the the the attire. If ever mortals . but Odile begged for another day to bid farewell to the good people in the vicinity.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. hence. but German Duke with his retinue. counting a second time on his lucky star. who been appointed former days had to bring Odile by Hugh from Jaume. he had a presentiment of being successful in his new journey with the He was help of God and His holy angels. so overwhelmed with joy that he wanted to leave that same evening. who came once more to home of her fathers. it was Saint of Alsace. and thanks to the pecuniary resources with which the Alsatian heralds had been furnished. and all the vassals adored her. sent to Freiburg was in Among the envoys the oM serv^ant. 85 because they loved their young4)rincess. she was enabled acknowledge by favors which she received in exile. it A was cortege entered the court of honor.

ODILE. brought workingmen and architects in a . Adalric. little Otto. certainly castle at this was the people of the moment when past trials and sufferings were forgotten. sister. tribulation. pallid. however. it were happy.86 ST. The Duke He of Alsace held to his promise. he could not be comforted for having caused his daughter so of the much her. save by the thought happiness which he would prepare later for Bereswinde. Conrad Hubert hung on the gown of their big sister and begged for a large share of her caresses everybody felt in the atmosphere that God's blessing had descended on this home. could have almost chanted her tiSy if Nunc dhnit- Odile had not remarked sensibly that they should ness now enjoy at length the happiwhich God had vouchsafed them. given up wholly to joy. always retained his regret. and . and at a suitable time offer their thanksgiving to Him. Hugh on never wearied of looking at the but ever sympathetic face of his young v*^hich sorrow had left the imprint of a newly reflected sanctity.

mystically of Hortiis deliciarum: under the name "The of delights. Odile supervised care- fully the progress of the labors. for proceeded very quickly.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. who were thus much nearer heaven. and built The family its quitted the towers and fortress on the plain below. Odile w^as installed as Abbess. habitable. mountain. what the Saint so ardently hoped God accomplished promptly. and the ancient lordly castle was gradually transformed into a spendid monastery. leaving certain portions of the structure to be completed to in succeeding years. and for. nourishment flowers in and to become that later virginal garden which an Abbess garden of days described. eager imbibe on the heights of Hohenburg the of all the virtues. 8/ short time to Hohenburg." . for she was desirous to be settled in the abbey. as it were. Numer- ous fervent souls flocked around her. It seemed that as if the spirits of heaven engaged in it the work. by As soon as the new convent was a miracle. leaving the heights to the daughters of the cloister.

Adalric's daughter renewed in her monastery all the pious exercises vvnich she had new abbey was surpassed by none of the other abbeys in piety. and following the counsel of Odile aided whom frequently consulted.88 ST. and was a loyal subject of Mother Church. who did so much from the by her legislation to raise nations slough of barbarism to the dignity of Christ- . and by her prayers. Duke Hugo appreciated early the benefit of religion in the promotion of the welfare of his people. Long and happily he he over his people. and the thus it became its like the noble German abbeys. a religious centre which fertilized Alsace and made a faith productive and everlasting. they settled eldest son as master of it. Hugo and he now bereigned came Duke his of Alsace by the abdication of father. he established an ideal kingdom in which religion and justice held full sway. regularity and perfection seen in their vigor at Jaume. ODILE. for their family on After Adalric and Bereswende had erected splendid home the their borders of the Rhine.

The Catholic Church had a terrible struggle with the elements that resisted her efiforts to do away with open violence and private feuds. men always went around armed and even entered the churches with their arms such a custom could not help but produce evils that were wide-spread. We know that in the very land where St. ian civilization. 89 We The must not forget that cruelty of the ancient fer- these primitive days were times of violence and commotion. The spirit of Christian charity lived in men's heads. Odile passed her days. France. and religion to extirpate this pesti- was the only means lence of all true progress. Roman mented its civilization was a germ that had for ages in the soil of society. In . the Council of Chalons-sur-Saone in its 17th canon pronounced excommunica- . The house of God was often converted into an arena of blood and vengeance. but the olden cruelty and barbarian ferocity still ruled their hearts.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. and remains were apparent in later periods. in the very century of Odile's existence.

to Rulers were mostly but blame the Church did not bend before them. the same bitterness and feuds yet obtained. held in the canons of the Council 868. More than four cen- turies elapsed since the Council of Aries was celebrated in the middle of the Vth century. to It be present at Mass or Vespers centuries of took prevail many . Thus. any for this un-Christian animosity. ODILE. and though religion pro- claimed again and again the divinely given precept of fraternal charity. and of as we see from Worms. we prudence and foresight which dictated the 29th canon of the third Council of Orleans.90 tion against all ST. the Church still to acts violence were continued. passions the it always met with resistance in the harsh character and fierce of descendants of the barbarians. labored to Church promote brotherly love by means coercive of the The arm of spiritual penalties. which forbade for any one armed. celebrated in 538. laymen who excited tumults or drew their swords to strike any one in the churches or also see the in their precincts. .

She excommunicated kings as quickly as she did nobles and serfs. a motive-power human and to inspire in its stead the . planted the seed of true Christian civilization and when we remember that the petty lords of those harsh times were the origin of the principal families which now occupy the principal thrones the of the world. we easily comprehend religion invaluable service which rendered to the improvement and of progress the human race. of the few rulers of his day in Duke Hugh was who coopervassals. She thus . ated with the Church ameliorating the his customs and supported the manners force as of He of efforts of religion to exclude from society action. way bending these lawless princes to of society the yoke of justice and morality. 9 more than she bent before Pagan emperors. and she taught petty tyrants that they must be submissive to the laws of In this God and her salutary injunctions. the Church improved the manners healthy tone to and gave a human progress. Justice tri- umphed one over brute force.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG.

as and methods Tennyson writes: " Love reflects the thing beloved. bidding good-bye to the proud world and resolved to labor with their daughter in works of mercy.92 ST. The love which the converted prince now bore towards Odile impelled of life. His name is shrined in the history of his country and name and memory of who labored with him for temporal and eternal good." Rose. heart embracing heart entire." As for Adalric and Bereswinde. occupied the days of the Lady. which. self He was : him'' the embodiment . him to practice her virtues How true it is. " Sorrow with sorrow sighing. of charity." often coupled with the his sainted sister. transplanted to the "blue Alsatian mountains. with prayer and study. ODILE. they finish their r-e- turned to Hohenburg to days in peace. hope with hope Exalting. the foreign flower.'' took deep .Abbess and her pensive nuns. a true dis- ciple of Christ perti'ansiit benefaciendo He enis went about doing good. peaceful spirit of benevolence.

. smiled on child. diS to close her life under the protecting kindness of her dear princess y she always called Odile. but be so by piety. now wished. slum- and with almost a mother's strong yearning besought God's love and mercy for Odile. root on this - 93 them and devoted her monastic peaceful Hfe to God in home where she learned the truth of the old saying: ''Be happy. and she who this often." the child of her adoption like Berthilda also could not be contented until she lived near . when she found bering old age coming on apace.BECOMES ABBESS OF HOHENBURG. a second mother.

THE ANCIENT MONASTIC LIFE —A CLOSING The veil of obscurity has fallen on the monastic homes of ancient days. VII.CHAPTER EPISODE. and blessings We have St.onasteries of the Middle Ages may in some measure disappeared amidst activities and onward modern days. but History has retained sufficient data to give us an sight into the lives of sacrifice in- passed by religious holy virgins the in the claustral state beneath shadow of the rood. The enthusiasm that peopled the large abbeys have the and m. but a few glimmering rays escape now and then from ever-engrossing dispositions of our the night of ages to disclose to our wondering gaze the divine faith and charity that made the monastic benefits homes of old of golden a with the placent Providence. com- seen how completely entranced Odile was by this (94) .

in which she entered voluntarily and which she wished to breathe the fragrant odors of humility. '' Her soul was like the there. in France. into To and thus weave out her eternal her it was a spiritual garden. for the flower of sweetest It smell is shy and lowly. 95 and how she jeopardized severe and fortune and all that could be dearest in this live world to be free to solitary rule under its destiny. and the strength of soul which inspired them to leave plicity of character all for Christ's sake was beautifully tempered by a rare sim- and a winning gentleness . We confine our consideration to the religious life spent by every holy virgins in the mediaeval abbeys and in monasteries that were to be found civilized country." were beneficial for us to uplift our worldly hearts. to look awhile on the much-misrepresented monastic life of early Christian times. Ireland and Often these nuns were the daughters of kings and noblemen. chastity and entire submission to God's chastest lily will. LIFE. but especially Britain. Germany.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC monastic life.

the veritable queen who patterned her existence and manners after that model of imperial grace our Blessed Lady. unknown to those that in royal halls or mixed in the frivolities and pleasures of the world. distinction and earthly bliss to cast themselves into what the eloquent Bossuet has called '' that voluntary prison into which they threw themselves for the love of God. dvN'elt manner. Odile lived. and ancient : women. ODILE. what was predicated by days of the German that they were austerely chaste and held in high honor by their husbands. will abandon wealth. brought up in all the refinement and luxury of palatial homes. might be as justly applied to the fair women of remote Alsace. It is saying much in praise of the German women that in their rude country they were . in has been always Tacitus considered German origin and settlement. in viz. the Queen of heaven." Alsace.96 of ST. The royal nun was indeed the royal sovereign. Nobody but a Catholic can understand how maidens. where St.

e the chosen brides of the crucified God. on the contrary. and voluntarily embraced restraint. the sport and playthings of unfeeling lords they were. penury and obscurity to becom. 97 many Pagan lands. played a promiin the nent part delopmicnt of national life.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC not.* When a goodly number of these saintly virgins were gathered in a religious * Anglo-Saxon Godes bryde. mere chattels. one of them was elected legislation bestowed on a nun the title of " 7 . beings. therefore. They. not dead who acted mainly for themselves and w^ere protected against license by the severest penalties. living. took them from the Egyptian bondage of paganism and deChristianity elevated When pravity and made their very weakness their strength. as in so LIFE. They altars and laid virginity as their lavished their fondest afifections on religion. they hastened in myriads to God's upon them their hearts and most precious offerings to the Saviour who had redeemed and brought them to the eternal light of day. . them to the dignity of true womanhood." house. sacrifice.

or appointed by the Bishop to that important of office. like England and Scotland. The Church seems to have . Their influence often surpassed the action of bishops and kings all . Fre- quently. and the secall ular authorities accorded such a dignitary the privileges.98 ST. indeed. they attended great religious and national assemblies. and they accordingly kept a princely retinue and state. liberties and attributes usually given to men of high rank. decrees of national import. In some countries. in the were placed on the same and their signatures appear. We refer to these authentic show to points in history to what power and high standing the headships of abbeys and monasteries had arisen in the old mediaeval days of faith. midst of those of the bishops and nobles. consideration and had a voice in matters of the highest and importance. they level with kings. affixed to Great. by the body as abbess. for religion must have been the reverence when these spiritual rulers were thus honored and appreciated. these abbesses were of royal stock. ODILE.

times can hardly be appreciated." . It is a sad reflection on the relig- ious spirit of our days. to the rite was most impressive. •the Hence it is that we read in writings of rationalistically inclined or openly malignant and prejudiced men the aversion which they have for the nunneries and monasteries of the Middle Ages. if we judge from It the lengthy. secby which kings were of these The life nuns of the olden fact. or. where they chose.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC LIFE. in understood by the unspirilual. solemn cereat their installa- mony which was observed tion. to use the poet's words: " For aye to be in shady cloister mew'd. to hear intellectual speakers at and wTiters expressing their indignation the Church for in permitting maidens to bury themselves astic the living death of these mon- establishments. as well as for all the institutions of those ''Dark" centuries. certainly ond alone anointed. materialistic world of to-day. Chanting faiat hymns to the cold. 99 recognized the superior rank of the abbesses. albeit a gross display of impertinence. fruitless moon.

were. perfectly '* This bigots may sound and men of scientists agreeable to modern culture. and nursed the wounded." ad- vanced it and carping agnostics. amidst the whirl of and as- sisted the poor. educated the rich and lowly alike. others life. and in always found wanting ice. of those will not be struck with admiration for them. when he views the immense services which the religietises of the Middle Ages gave to society and the needy classes of humanity." having sought asylum prayed as it God's immensity. the balance of just- There is scarcely a fair-minded reader abused and maltreated times who. in the as we to-day have the sacrificing successors. ODILE. wars of our period. witnessejd their Sisters. human Their lives were ever de- voted to the amelioration of mankind. lived in solitude.lOO ST. tended the sick. for the needs of society. but is will hardly bear the test of truth. where they lived. . Some an away from the " madding crowd's ignoble in strife. cared for orphans. will and not wish to place them on the bead- roll of heroes that have uplifted our degraded nature.

THE ANCIENT MONASTIC They were LIFE. of glory in the future We look with amazement at the varied ac-. and perceive them with pleasure as the solitary lights which gleam out of the prevailing United to extensive learning was that contentment of heart that surpasses all darkness. God gave them strength of soul to select poverty and obedience. lOI not. free agents in their choice of the claustral state. and an eternal crown world. who abandoned. own will. understanding. of celestial bliss. relatives. home. complishments of these consecrated virgins. as ignorant writers have declared. preferably to wealth and freedom which endanger man's salvation as . and many in the of them. they were. for the main of their part. the victims of social. and to the standard of the cross. The convent was a foretaste . we have said. the children of noble and even royal blood. family or ecclesiastical violence . parents. sought monastic life spiritual comforts not obtainable in the world. its and the world with fled blandishments and riches.

Benedict. Walk hand in hand in charity. a refreshing and reviving joy." Their lives were lives of activity. a nurse of piety against oil of sorrow. prudence. Where peaceful rule. in fact the Christ-like character of one of these mediaeval times that a writer. a light of the holy Church. just like priests. She lived in the memories men as a patron against calumny. an mercy to the frigid a fire the dead in corporal and . whose rule was generally . ODILE." As nuns for the latter. Where oft devotion's tranced glow Can such a glimpse of heaven bestow. and time did not hing heavily on their hands.I02 ** ST. With the of the mntto which ruled them. and duty free. like the '*a they are chosen generation" set apart **to declare His virtues who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous hght." Such was the wisdom. so. nuns of the in charity. thus of testifies '' : wrapt admiration. and to spiritual miseries. greatest glory of God. the motto great St. are predestined. That the enraptured sisters see High vision and deep mystery. of charity.

them. for '' LIFE. Some attended to physical to use their . Adjoining most of of the mediaeval abbeys were hospices where the saintly nuns performed daily works mercy for Christ. self-sacrifice like that of these No generous of nuns. corporal and spiritual deeds mercy were.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC followed. Elia ? What dost '' : . so to speak. the pilgrims others waited on the of and travelers who were drawn to the monasteries by the fame their charity. whose was face they saw in the sufTer- ing poor that besought their charity." they made work themselves where seemingly none was for made labor. IO3 Labor and pray. their food. and hesitated not in hands even agricultural pursuits sick. It is no wonder that a traveler of our own days should have exclaimed tion. when he mourned w^ithout moving. as in a burst of admira- he witnessed similar scenes I of heroic love '' : could almost say that a my idea of of heaven was place filled with Sisters Charity. their refresh- ment and their ever-growing strength." Unlike Elias on Horeb. and the Lord said to him Quid hie agis.

many hours of Some of the mediaeval nuns were most learned and ac- complished in sacred and secular science. Contemporary historians and chroniclers bear ample testimony to their extraordinary intelThe erulectual abilities and acquirements." those mediaeval days. The nuns of the German monasteries. were profound students of Sacred Scripture. like their sisters in Britain. ODILE. Elias?" they regarded time as most precious gift after grace. pages never Of at them it was said that ''excepting while > prayer.104 ST. Odile adopted for her abbey at Hohenburg. Besides the manual labor which they per- formed. sacred . dite Mabillon ascribes to St. Their Hves were both active and conGod's templative. the learning of the nuns who followed This was the rule the Benedictine rule. Boniface what he calls " the singular ornament of his order. thou here." viz. they also devoted the day to mental pursuits. and were ever employed in their Father's business. which St. the In divine left their hands.

and many other books of the divine Scriptures. nuns transcribed books. but Germany and Britain were it. quite extensive. It in the ancient classics. but also for the its excellence in having written the four Gospels. and some of of them were composers works that have to our days. grammar. the logic. These are but a few instances of many convents. whole Psalter. the monks. centuries before the art of printing was discovered. which were de- voted to intellectual pursuits. which they ornamented with liquid gold.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC learning was the IJFE. and in fact in all the liberal was necessary that the scope of their intellectual attainments should be more than usual. come down in convent . history. The cloistered . gems and pearls. Like their associates in religion. We read of one Belgium which became celebrated for its' work in reading and writing and in painting also another in Germany was noted not only for its embroidery and weaving. deeply versed in they were also well grounded arts. in fact. 105 while the nuns of acme of all knowledge.

their '' nuns employed and all time. labor with prayer. fasting. One is of the great gifts of the Holy Ghost the gift of science. and which given to every mind that has been regenerated by gift of is water and the Holy Spirit.I06 ST. as an old chronicler bears witness. but the science something super-added to both reason and faith by the illuminative action of the Holy Ghost and awarded to those who . They thus united learning with sanctity. vigils between psalmody and reading. which amazes us tcday. In no Blessed Trinity other way can we account for the profound grasp intimacy which they evidenced of subjects in the worthy the genius of the brightest church-fathers." in transcrib- ing books and important documents. ODILE. We know that is faith is a special additional light which infused is by God into man's reason. spite of our boasted attainments. and to this especial in- dwelling of the Third Person of the most we must ascribe that mystical knowledge so largely possessed by the nuns of the Middle Ages.

the broad landscape of God's truth beauti- scenes on wdiich to feed their in and God's law a sweet persuasion that said captivated both mind and heart. for it is absolutely necessary that the understanding should be free from all . Psalmist they might have illiimi7iatio : With the Domimis mea\ ''The Lord is my light/' The eminent purity of soul which these holy vigins cultivated. lO/ their souls the priceless In the obscurity of the God.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC have preserved grace of cloister. as accordant with their vow. tinual endeavor to abide filed It was their con- in God that He the might abide in them. and were conditioned therefore to explore and understand more thoroughly than ordinary mortals the mysteries of the in ful Kingdom of God. gave them an adaptability to see and know truth. in LIFE. the pressing temptations of this lower these saintly maidens kept themselves unde- and free from sin. far from the trials of the v^^orld and life. Thus they united perfection of reason with the sanctification of the illuminating Spirit. They found intellect.

Anything that is morally wrong makes the eye of the soul squint. when con- trasting the arrant nonsense written by some relig- distinguished ejcponents of ''modern ion'' and " modern culture " i. of the most elevated subjects of so profound were their views on the mystical division of this sciences. but both their mind and conscience are defiled.) . that. Paul's sentiment: things are clean to the clean. we mind. is St. * (Titus 13. Queen of all the and so sensible and correct their exposition of the doctrinal and moral sides of the same science. ''All This seems to be that are defiled." * Gifted with this heaven-born science. nothing clean .I08 ST. these devoted brides of Christ discoursed and wrote on some theology . and it cannot therefore perceive the directness of God's truth nor the grandeur of His holy law. ODILE. but to them and to unbelievers. with the pure. in our edification recall to and wonder. bias towards uncleanness to grasp and ap- preciate the knowledge which cometh from God.

the '' words of our Blessed Saviour Father. Alphonsus and Thomas — who wrote under the all inspira- tion of this sacred gift of the Holy Spirit and composed nisi 7>. because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent.* To corroborate and grace-laden only look at Doctors. we need the marvellous works of the intellect of —Augustine. Jerome. Domine. and hast' revealed them to for so it little ones.) . Hilary. Luke 21. IO9 limpid stream of truth which flowed from the divinely illuminated intellects of these erudite virgins. I confess to Thee.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC LIFE. their wonderful treatises at the Noii aliam i^mercedem) foot of the crucifix. Bernard. O Lord of heaven and earth. to the conditions of X. Yea. if We nize must remember. that all this was attributable * (St. Ambrose. at times we recog- some trace of discontent or regret in the satisfaction of the monastic obligations. Father: hath seemed good in Thy sight. the powerful efTect which the gift of science breathes into the purified man. Gregory.

It is scarcely reasonable to sup- . great progress in the way In monastic principles Iffe. Odile's days from the crudely civilized world to the foot of God's altar. there must be first an evolution. and merit was not forthcoming until the will its human mind and stand and accept Christian wxre trained sacrifices to under- and burdens. life in their reflection life on the religious its The spiritual till did not attain to^ development after years of experience. ST. odtle:. as in civil life. and were yet possessed of many attributes and qualfties which belonged to vanquished still paganism. a gradual amelioration of . were arrive education desirable and discipline life needed before the monastic at would that state which foretokened of perfection.110 national life. Who were these saintly maidens? They had descended from a race fresh in their acceptance of Christianity. the early times in a modified form. The but spirit of the cloister in its was always present. heroicity of soul and and we cannot help admiring the strength of purpose which conducted the virgins of St.

Ill pose even that pagans. but also the counsels of God's holy law. and accepted not only the precepts. and betimes we hear of some disappointment or distress of soul. was turbulent. life is death. We at know is one national excep- and that the Irish people Patrick's who bowed in instantly faith St. And . brought to the profession of Christianity. could quire that pacific disposition heart. preaching to the their of the triune God. yet the nuns of we are astonished that so those early days accepted nobly their the test of lives of sacrifice and persevered But the death of so earnestly in their chosen profession. In the un- disciplined state of the cloister in those early Christian times» the vis vivida of national life if had its influence on the monastic life. and they were even after the grace of regeneration. obtainable only all at once acand meekness of by centuries of of Christian practice. de- sirous to maintain their native strength and too often unrestrained freedom.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC LIFE. The character of these German converts to Christianity still. symbolized native shamrock. tion.

Lord. ** the mediaeval nun was of the precious in the sight a peaceful end. Lceta mortem vidit: joy. Men essay in vain to comprehend a Young.112 . it. innocent hearts espouse themselves to God." '' Hilda's death: She saw death with Many of the nuns foretold the time of hence. shall see face to face." Hers was and to her. obediencCi poverty and mystery. purity'* gild their passage to eternal rest. ST. while heavenly their death. short. when life's struggle over: in **Now we a see through a glass darkly." moment we . Paul. when the Lord's finger touched her. but we might apply Venerable Bede's expressive sentence on St. and their faith. ODILE. the sole Such is ambition of the sanctified nun of the Middle Ages. to enjoy the glories of Paradise. and truly she may is say with St." where they cast throne of God. and the old chroniclers declare that they departed music was heard. to an invisible crucified Lord. their crowns before the the hope. Wonderful indeed was of their love ! marvelous their chasteness world soul The It is knows nought -of their happiness.

One beautiful summer-day, a large sized man clad in the climbed slowly and heavily monastic habit the winding mountain-path.
. .
.

THE ANCIENT MONASTIC

LIFE.

II

One beautiful summer day, a large man clad in the monastic habit, of
m.ajestic
cast, as
if

sized
lofty,

brow and with eyes gravely downto A^eil

from indiscreet gaze the

thoughts

that

coursed

through

his

mind,

climbed slowly
mountain-path.
large
folds

and

heavily

the

winding

His hands were

lost in the

of his

appeared to

woolen garment, and he be plunged in deep meditation.
recollected

One would judge from his that he was communing
timie

manner

with God.

From

would emerge from the reflections which absorbed his attention so completely, and cast a glance at
to

time,

however, he

the

natural

scenery

so

vvondrously

rich

about him.
his
lips,

A
:

pleasant smile then broke on
in

and he murmured
voice
"

a
it

low, but
is

musical

How
at the

good

to

be

here!"

When
spot

he arrived

mountain-top, at a

w^hich

appeared

to

be

delightfully

marked out
ing
of

for a resting-place, at the cross-

several

bordered by

soft,

narrow roads, which were inviting under-brush and

behind those conventwalls which shelter her from the world and those bolted doors which keep faithfully for God the secrets witnessed by Him alone. ''Yes. he paused and said: ''Yes. lost in the distance from which the sight was and the traveler was likely to go astray. by the same stroke of grace. Be Thou ever blessed and praised. for having prepared this solitary nest for the dove that sought repose only in Thee be Thou ever blessed for having. and truly her presence ravished my heart." As he leaned on his palmer's staff in pensive that he mood. at that time she seemed to good and lovely. one would say was peering down I first the vista of the past. broken the bonds me so . "it was there that saw Odile." he soliloquized. ODILE.114 ST. which attached me so intimately to this . O merciful God. as we rode together in the chase wherein I was the most dashing huntsman of all. it is there. She possessed the simplicity of a child and the candor of a saint. But how far nobler and grander does she appear to me to-day.

different was far which he made when he came to Hohenburg to find his fiancee. destined henceforth to prayer and silence." After this prayer. and without stopdespite the fatigue which he felt. When the divine office was finished. IIS shown me the vanity away. The nuns with in large angelic numbers filled the choir-stalls modesty and hymned forth it God's praises.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC world. and on this occasion Frederic came to see a — — Saint. These two souls recognized each . he accomplished with quick step the short distance which separated ping. Duke This Frederic (for in the was he) perceived from the one Odile seated visit abbatical place of honor. he was introduced at his own request to the abbess. him from the abbey. he entered at once the convent-church. and for having of all that passes LIFE. Everything was changed in the place. Hohenburg the impregnable castle endured now only the peaceable assaults of the wretched and needy.

The * snare is broken. . Frederic and Odile had prayed for each other many years. and the sacrifice of the Alsatian of the Prince's daughter had begotten that German Duke. What for a did the monk and in abbess have to together? say to each other the brief interview that moment had brought them What the elect of heaven say in the never- ending ages '' — the canticle of their deliver- ance and peace. Our soul hath been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers.Il6 ST. for ties. now united them forever. *(Ps. unwilling to take anylittle thing for refreshment save a wine to re- cuperate his strength. never 7. purer than those with other quickly. which others had endeavored to burden them." And now Frederic. left Hohenburg. to bearing with God's throne the spoils of earthly conquest. love sprang Thus the flame of divine it up from the heart which it had made its a victim and arose aloft to heaven.) CXXIII. and we are delivered. ODILE.

THE ANCIENT MONASTIC to see of it LIFE. It is also historical that Hugh. miraculously her her her which was administered to when she was twelve years of age. but the basis of which preserves Alsace blind in the historical reality. and that when the . that to say a narrative in its which popular imag- ination has found place. Duke of Vllth century. no fairy-tale. in the Monastery of Jaume of which her aunt was the abbess. had by his wife Bereswinde a daughter Odile. caused her to return secretly to her father's castle. The is story which is we have told you. It is a legend. dear readers. bearing with him to the heart Germany the sweet memory of that great Princess who covered Alsace with her deeds of charity and protected it by her prayers. the young first exile's brother. and that predestined child sight at recovered baptism. CONCLUSION. who was born and incurred on that account her this father's anger. 11/ again. It is a historical fact that Adalric.

Odile. was compelled to build Adal- . fled from her home disguised the as a beggar. and as their number be- gan to increase. but also be- stowed on her pose. wishing returned to to accomplish fully that for which he had given his word. Adalric be- stowed on her his paternal affection. not only allowed his daughter found a religious community. Stage of discontent passed away. and Adalric. crossed the When Rhine and concealed of her identity in the suburbs Freiburg. who had vowed herself to God. German Duke sued for the hand of the saintly Princess. she a second convent at Nieder-Munster. Relying on this promise she the castle. There she learned that her father at the end of a certain for time her (who had searched in vain) had caused to be published everywhere that she might return without fear to Hohenburg and liberty of feel secure in enjoying the embracing whatever kind of Hfe suited her. his own dwelling for that pur- Odile soon found herself at the head of three hundred nuns.Il8 ST. ODILE.

THE ANCIENT MONASTIC ric LIFE. be devoted to whatever good works she in view. The abbey of time of Hohenburg was to it in the gifts course . Odile built to care herself for the at last sick. community later flourished to such a degree that on its history the Emperor Frederic its Barbarossa conferred on of abbess the title Princess to the of the Holy Roman Empire. cele- brated with the angels the triumphant entrance of the Saint into heaven. to . 720. a hospital and loved aged and the She rendered her beautiful soul to God December 13th. this Down Xllth century monastery . II and Beresvvinde decided to pass their last years with the pious abbess and bequeathed to her at their death a portion of their wealth. enriched with magnificent able of those who were left some came with pleasure and in their fortune the hands of these daughters of solitude and charity. surrounded by her daughters. who The used the revenue of their convent in assisting the poor and suffering in the vicinity. who. while deploring the most devoted of mothers. had At Nieder-Munster.

crystal stream invites the passer-by tp bathe his eyes in its waters. A pure.120 ST. the summon up the memory . may we chanted not attribute that favor to this enspot which we have spoken? delighted From twenty there. when the eye the lordly quickly turned from them by aspect of the abbey. its continued to follow the rule of it Foundress . — the me- morial of Christ's triumph through Odile. in remembrance . in Alsace and refresh their its some moments on by of superb heights. there are places blessed a special predestination. Roman walls On the mountain. centuries. cities the eye discovers and more than three hundred along the plain of villages scattered the Rhine and ruins of living in the abundance of fruitful and splendid nature. For this and pilgrims climb holy mountain souls for If. Benedict. ODILE. tourists name for the St. its Hohenburg has changed more illustrious one of Mt. adopted afterwards the rule of St. Odile. as Father Lacordaire has said. of ancient paganism is but scarcely have we perceived these reliques of a remote past.

the summit of Hohenburg. who recovered In the her sight by a stroke of grace. . mon- still extend hospitality it is necessary that on this moun- tain top all things should have the stamp of pious tradition. the religieuses to visitors . astery. has something to vouchsafe the poor people always. The it who of kneels the Saint's church knows Good that he always brings away from peace. the Virgin of Alsace watched always over her native she lived there as an angel spreading it her wings over pilgrim to preserve in its faith.THE ANCIENT MONASTIC of the LINE. From land . 121 daughter of Adalric. and does so without reckoning the cost. a provision happiness in and The P7'incesSy just as former days.