Thursday 27 February 2014

Saint Oda of Rhoda, February 27

Following on from yesterday's saint, Beccan the Blind, today's saint, Oda of Rhoda in Belgium, also has a connection with blindness. Canon O'Hanlon has included her in his work on the grounds of her alleged 'Scots' i.e. Irish background. The feast day of saint Oda is also open to question as her main feast appears to have been on 27 November rather than 27 February.

St. Oda, or Odda, Virgin, at Rhoda, Belgium. [During or after the Eighth Century]

Dempster, in his Scottish Menology, and Ferrarius, in his general Catalogue, insert a festival for St. Oda, Virgin, of Rhoda, in Taxandria, of Brabant, at the 27th of February. The Bollandists briefly allude to her, at the same date, although referring her festival to the 27th of November. Dempster states, that at Rhoda, St. Odda, a Virgin, was venerated, at the 27th of February. She was daughter to a king, and patroness of this place. Othbert, the Bishop, raised her precious remains, in 1103, to a place of honour. It is said, by Dempster, that she was daughter to Eugene V., King of the Scots, and a virgin, who led a most holy life. However, the authorities quoted by him, only make her daughter to a King of the Scots. It is thought, she flourished, about the year 500, although another more probable statement has 700, and 713. She was seized with blindness, but going to the tomb of St. Lambert, Bishop and Martyr, at Liege, she there prayed and recovered her sight. Through gratitude, she then vowed her virginity to God; nor, afterwards, could her father persuade her to marry. Following a Divine impulse, Odda went to Taxandria, and by her residence, she sanctified the whole Rhodan territory. It is related, that while she secretly prayed in a wood, a magpie betrayed this secret to men. Hence, in art, she is painted with a magpie. Renowned for her virtues and miracles, she was called, at last, to the nuptials of her Divine Spouse, and her body was deposited in a collegiate church at Rhoda, where she is commemorated as chief patroness. We are told, that her memory was greatly venerated, and that churches were erected to her honour, in various parts of the kingdom of Scotland. Her festival occurs, in the Kalendar of King Charles First's Prayer-book, probably in virtue of her royal descent. Her Acts are said to be more fully written, in the Scotichronicon, by the Monk of Paisley, by John Molan, by Constantinus Ghinius, in the English Martyrology, and in other works. In the anonymous Catalogue of Irish Saints, published by O'Sullevan Beare, and in the "Historia Sanctorum Lovanii" as also in Father Henry Fitzsimon's list of Irish Saints, at the 27th of February, we find entered, St. Oda, Virgo. However, the "English Martyrology" refers her feast, to the 27th of November. By Father Stephen White, she is said to have lived in the eighth century.

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