Luther and His Katie
The Influence of Luther’s Wife on His Ministry
Few of us have heard of Catherine von Bora. And yet, as the beloved wife of Martin Luther, she can very justifiably be seen as one of the most influential figures in the Reformation. She made her home a haven of rest for the storm tossed man that was her husband.
Luther once said himself, “Next to God’s Word, the world has no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God’s best gift is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing wife, with whom you may live peacefully, to whom you may entrust your goods, your body, and your life.”
At the famous Leipzig Disputation between Martin Luther and John Eck in 1519, the monk from Wittenburg carried in his hand a bunch of flowers, sent by his wife. In moments of pressure he would look and them and enjoy their fragrance. Someone has aptly said that, amid the storms and stresses of his life, Luther’s wife and children were his bunch of violets.
Every churchgoer knows about Martin Luther, the rambunctious leader of the Reformation, but few realise the influence that his wife had on his ministry.
Early in his personal reformation Luther became convinced that there was no reason why parish priests should not marry, if they preferred it, but he did not feel inclined to break his clerical oath himself.
That was until he met Catherine von Bora. Catherine was the leader of a daring breakout from a convent reserved for nuns of noble birth. At first Luther was a little afraid of her but they married two years later on the 13th June 1525.
She prolonged Luther’s life by protecting him from the reckless overwork to which he subjected himself. She made the garden of the unfinished Augustine Convent that was her home, profitable – keeping pigs, cows and chickens. She took over three other gardens and planted fruit trees and started small scale farming.
About the Author
Dolina MacCuish is a retired school teacher who lives in Inverness, Scotland. She is a keen biographer and enjoys researching historical figures. She has written both Luther and his Katie and Augustine, a Mother’s Son.