Our abbey was called Hohenbourg, at Odile’s time: it became very prosperous from the 7th to the 13th century. Thanks to two abbess, Relinde and Herrade de Landsberg, two exceptional ladies; Let me introduce Herrade… She was born in the neighbouring castle of Landsberg: she was a witty and strong lady. She wrote the famous medieval book Hortus deliciarum (″Garden of Delights″), a mix of sacred and profane things, illustrated by herself.
They preciously kept the manuscript in the cathedral of Strasbourg: unfortunately, it burnt during the terrible fire of 1870… It was her masterpiece, a collection of poetry, sciences and lovely drawings. A curious book (800 pages) in Latin: Herrade wrote it in 25 years! Thanks to her, the abbey had an unequaled cultural radiance: nuns learned drawing, sciences, mathematics and art...
Odile and Herrade lighted up the mount, in the Middle Ages. But soon came dark times, full of wars and bloody troubles… a big fire destroyed everything here in 1546: it was so violent, that period chronicles said ″people could see it in all the Rhine valley″! Even the protectors of the abbey railed at nuns!
For instance, duke Frederic de Souabe seized all their possessions, like cities of Obernai and Rosheim. Nuns had to run away from Saint-Odile, abandoning the place until 1607, when monks from an abbey of Lorraine came and re-raised buildings.