Saint Odilo of Cluny – Feast Day – May 11

Today is Monday, January 30, 2023

Saint Odilo of Cluny was born in 962 A.D in Auvergne, France. He lived as a priest and an abbot of Cluny and died on January 1 1049 AD, in Souvigny, France. His feast day is celebrated on May 11, every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Odilo of Cluny Biography
Date of Birth 962 A.D
Country of Birth Auvergne, France
Profession Religious servant
Place of Work Cluny, France
Date of Death January 1 1049
Place of Death Souvigny, France
Feast Day May 11
Canonization Pre-congregation
Patron Saint of
  • Against jaundice
  • Souls in Purgatory

Saint Odilo of Cluny Life History

Odilo was born in the year 962 AD, in Auvergne, France. He was the descendant of a noble french family lineage and was the son of Berald de Mercoeur and Gerbega. He was one of eleven children of his family having had eight brother and two sisters. Later, when his father passed, his widowed mother became a nun at the convent of St John in Autun.

As a child, Odilo was partially paralyzed and had to be moved around by the help of family servants but one day, during his family’s travels, he was left with the luggage at a church’s open front door. It was said that he felt God calling him and he felt the urge to go to the altar and so he crawled towards it. On the altar, he tried to stand up and failed but his persistence bore fruits as he was seen moving around altar without any assistance and it was believed that the Mother Mary intervened in curing his illness. Due to this he developed a strong devotion to the virgin Mary. He later joined the seminary of St Julie in Brioude where he became a specialist in canon law.

In the year 991 AD, he joined the monastery of Cluny, after being persuaded by William of Dijon and by that year’s end, was made coadjutor of Abbot Mayuel. Three years later he succeeded him as abbot and recieved his holy orders.

Odilo was widely known for his kindness and his great mercy even towards people who were said not to deserve it. He was a man who was deep in prayer and penance and was famous for his devotion to the Blessed Mother. He assisted in erecting a monastery building and encouraged learning in his monastery, thus effecting reforms in the Benedictine monasteries to a point that in his time as abbot, his monastery became the most important one in western Europe. During a famine in 1006, he melted down church vessels and ornaments and sold them in order to raise funds to feed the poor in his area.

Odilo was once offered an archbishop position by Pope John XIX but he refused and was said to be disobedient.

As an abbot, he worked hard to attain monastic autonomy as he, together and his predecessors, suffered a great deal of attempts by diocesian bishops and local leaders to controll and attain monastic property as Cluny did not affiliate with any local authorities except the authority from Rome and from there is where they got all their charter from. He ensured that the Popes of the time decreed excommunication to whoever tried to sieze the property of the cluny monasteries or anyone who tried to attack them for that matter.

He was close to Roman king, Henry II as he was able to interced for people who had disputes with him. One time, a day after the coronation of Henry as crown king of Italy in 1004, there was a revolt against the new king in Pavia which was crushed and Odilo interceeded for the forgiveness of the rebels. Odilo was present at the coronation of Henry II as the Holy Roman Emporer and also at the coronation of Henty’s successor, Conrad II and through this he was able to attain Cluny great favour from the new emporer and once again in a failed revolt against the new emporer in 1026 he interceeded on the rebels and they were forgiven.

Odilo was responsible for many reforms in Cluny and brought about the creation of new foundations. He fought against concubinage and uncanonical marriage in Italy. Due to this, abbots of Cluny were called upon to reform other monasteries. He brought about the english monastic reform undertaken by saints Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester and on this account together with many others of his services, he earned the name, archangel of monks, given to him by Fulbert of Chartres.

He promoted an intiative known as the ‘Truce of God’ whereby military hostilities would be suspended on holy and consecrated days as there came a time a pandemic of private wars grew and this initiative brought about the saving of thousands of lives then and later had a huge part in dealing with the pandemic. He also brought about the institution of all souls day, a day set aside for the intercession of departed souls after a pilgrim came to him with a vision of souls enduring the purification flames of purgatory. Due to this he established November 2 as the all souls day.

During his visits to Rome and to the monasteries of Cluny in his old age, he was injured during one of his travels and as a result grew weak. Odilo lived a fulfilling life and passed away at the age of 87 on the night of New Year 1049 AD while praying for souls in purgatory. On the night of his funeral, it was said that a monk named Gregorious saw his spirit.

Family Background

Odilo was born from Berald de Mercoeur and Gerbega. He was one of eleven children of which were eight brothers and two sisters. When his father passed away, his mother became a nun at the convent of St. John in Autun.

St. Odilo’s Birth

He was born in the year 962 AD in Auvergne, France.

Death

St. Odilo passed away on the new years of 1049 AD in St. Mary’s Chapel in Souvigny Priory while praying for the souls in purgatory. He was buried at the place of his death and it was believed that at the night of his funeral, his spirit revealed itself to a monk named Gregorious, who apparently had traveled a long way just to see hi,.

Nationality

St Odilo of Cluny was french in nationality.

Profession

He lived as priest and as an abbot of Cluny. He was very successful in his works that he earned the privilege to influence his ways on other monasteries and even earned the title, Archangel of Monks.

Beatification

St Odilo of Cluny was beatified pre-congregation.

Canonization

St Odilo of Cluny was canonized pre-congregation.

Saint Odilo of Cluny Feast Day

St Odilo of Cluny is among the saints whose feast Day is being remembered or celebrated on the January 1 and the February 6 in Switzerland.

Venerated in

He is venerated in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

St Odilo of Cluny Patron Saint of 

St Odilo of Cluny is patron saint of

  • Against jaundice
  • Souls in Purgatory

St Odilo of Cluny Legacy

Odilo brought about the institution of all souls day, honored annually, every November 2, to pray for all souls in purgatory that they may go to heaven.

Odilo represents church leaders who would sacrifice greatly for the good of other souls. He was an exemplary example of mercy towards others and was a force of good. His initiative, the Truce of God, is seen to have indirectly had an effect on the existing pandemic of his time resulting to peace.

He was widely known for his devotion to the Blessed Mother and this impacted both his life and the lives of those around him positively.

Relics

In the year 1973, St Odilo of Cluny relics, together with those that belonged to Abbot Mayuel were burned by French revolutionaries on the Altar of the Fatherland.

Shrine

The Parish of Saint Odilo in Berwyn is officially designated as the National shrine of Souls in Purgatory.

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