1680-1894 to 2004

Chapel Notre Dame des Aides, also named « MARIA HILF » and situated in ODEREN was, in 1680 a very small oratory. It was built in the named place « Läger » -

At this time, priest Basile STAUB native of ZUG asked permission to the bishop of Basel, to celebrate the mass in this new sanctuary built on the rock-side. His petition, written in 1683 and sent to Chrysosthome HANS who was an Official and Apostolic Protonotaire, reminds the beginning of this pilgrimage.

And our priest organized also a brotherhood of SAINT ROSARY in Oderen.

And it is at this time that legend joins reality in the explaining: very terrifying Ghosts had been shown at the place where was built the chapel.  Many women fell ill and were delivered thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayers stand up on the rocky peak. Priest Georges Chrétien BÖH placed in the rock a very beautiful statue of Virgin Mary (the one shown upper) and thanks to many benefactors’ presents, the small chapel could protect the statue and also all parishioners from ODEREN who came and pray in order to be delivered from evil.

The Official had given his agreement to the schoolmaster to build this oratory on the side of « MAEREL » but the priesthood asked to get the possibility to celebrate the mass from which the STAUB’s request.

The petition was signed and it is there that our familial history joins facts, by Hans Jacob ARNOLD (the ancestor of ABA branch) and by Hans MUNSCH [the first Stettmeister and the second Bourgmeister].

The chapel began to be too small in front of such many pilgrims. It had been enlarged and completed with a sacristy.

Among benefactors we have also several ARNOLD and also priest MEYER who gave a bell which was blessed in the Abbey of MURBACH by Celestin of BEROLDINGEN Coadjutor of Prince Abbé in 1716 the 8th of May.

This bell was named « Maria Eva » and its Godfather was François Thiébaud HANS and its Godmother Anne Marie ARNOLD (baptism registered in parish register in ODEREN F° 225 – 1617 to 1753).

Fifty years later, the sanctuary has been again enlarged and restored. In that time ODEREN had 1500 inhabitants and pilgrims coming from everywhere were very important.

In 1758 on May the 6th priest WETZEL Juror in rural Chapter of MASEVAUX had to begin an inquiry that we don’t know the contents. This inquiry was made with M.LARGER Mayor of ODEREN, André LUTTENBACHER, Juror or Dorfmeister of ODEREN and of Jean ARNOLD Juror of KRUTH and also Jean Thiébaud HALLER Collector of the chapel.



On October 1779 the Mayor of the high valley of Thur asked that a register was written where the Chapel is evoked under the title « NOTRE DAME DU BON SAUVEUR »

Unhappily the Chapel became the prey of vandals of the Revolution…

On Floréal the 15th Year II (5th of May of 1794) the Town-Hall of ODEREN, formed with LUTHRINGER, Mayor, MORTIZ – GISSY – SIFFERLIN – WILHELM – FLIELER – MENG – Town-Councillors, decided on the 20th Floréal (which means on the 10th of May) that materials coming from the demolition of the Chapel – taken as personal estate by the Revolution –will be sold at 8 o’clock in the morning in the Common House. The last landed property of the Chapel was wasted at that time.

Thus on the 21st of Fructidor Year II ( 8th of September of 1794) Ch. Burghard ARNOLD Collector of the Pilgrimage gave to Grégoire MENG, National Agent 900 Livres (pounds of Basel) in order to buy military arms.

The old small Chapel didn’t live anymore…or nearly. After the Revolution, in 1813, the Pilgrimage was authorized again. But the Chapel fell into decay by humidity and as pilgrimages were more and more important it was necessary to build a new construction. When Mgr FRITZEN, bishop of SRASBOURG, came in ODEREN in 1892, he asked to the priest, Abbé LINTZER to organize the new construction.

The first stone of the new sanctuary was placed on the 22nd of May in 1893 and on the 9th of September in 1894, Mgr MARBACH Coadjutor of the Bishop of SRASBOURG sanctified the new Chapel in the presence of 12000 faithful.

The new Romanesque edifice with 2 crypts and its terrace contains many admirable works.

It will be saved from the WW2; just the leaded glass windows of the Lady Chapel were broken and had to be changed. The new ones which show Mary were drawn by a child from ODEREN, Monsieur l’Abbé François ARNOLD…our cousin.

Since 1954, Abbé STAEMPFLIN, priest of ODEREN has made many renovations. Inhabitants from the valley of Thur are very proud of this sanctuary.

Today, a team of unpaid people from ODEREN are all along the year renovating the Chapel with all the love they can give to a mother as Maria HILF, Notre dame du BON SECOURS..ou des AIDES, the Patroness Mother of ODEREN and of the valley of Thur.


Origin : Notre Dame des Aides ODERN 1680-1894 Origines et Histoire du Pèlerinage (1879) – et ODEREN et ses SANCTUAIRES de J.STAEMPFLIN. 1975.

Chapel as you can see today…