Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

29 January 1499 A.D. Kate von Bora: Example for Lutheran Wives

29 January 1499 A.D.  Kate von Bora:  Example for Lutheran Wives

Graves, Dan. “Kate von Bora:  Example for Lutheran Wives.”  May 2007.  Accessed 11 Jul 2014.

Katherine von Bora viewed herself as a prisoner in the cloister of Marienthron. Luther's Reformation preaching had found its way behind the convent walls and she wanted out.

It wasn't as if she had chosen this secluded life for herself. Far from it. Her dad had brought her here when she was just a wee mite of three when her mother died. She had been there all her eighteen years.

Born on this day, January 29, 1499, Katherine was destined to set the tone for Lutheran families. But first she had to escape from her cloister. Luther had a hand in that. When he learned that Katherine and others wanted out, he conferred with a friend of his. Merchant Kopp often delivered herring to the convent. One evening in 1523, he bundled twelve nuns into his wagon and packed them in the empty fish barrels! Several of the nuns returned to their families; Luther helped find homes, husbands, or positions for the rest.

Within two years after their fishy ride, all of the nuns had been provided for except one--Katherine. Gradually, through the persuasion of friends and his father--and Katie's own impish suggestion--Luther married her himself. She was 26, he was 42.

Luther was living in the building that had been the Augustinian monastery at Wittenberg. Katie took over its operation in 1525, the year of her marriage. She cleaned the place up and brought order to Luther's daily life. Soon Luther wrote, "There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage. One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before." After a year of marriage he wrote another friend, "My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus."

Katie managed the family finances and freed Luther for writing, teaching, and preaching. Luther called her the "morning star of Wittenberg" since she rose at 4 a.m. to care for her many responsibilities. She took care of the vegetable garden, orchard, fishpond, and barnyard animals, even butchering the stock herself.

Had she not been a hard-working woman of pure character, the reformation might have suffered. For centuries, the Reformer's family served as a model for German families. Luther viewed marriage as a school for character: Family life helps train Christians in the virtues of fortitude, patience, charity, and humility. This is because all families have their problems, and his was no exception. But in addition to their own six children and the four orphans they raised, there were as many as 30 students, guests, or boarders staying in the monastery, all of whom came under Katie's care. Katie also nursed Luther's many illnesses with herbs, poultices and massages. /p>

Katie survived her husband by six years, dying in 1552. She lived long enough to see all her children (except Magdalena, who had died at the age of fourteen) achieve positions of influence. One of the last things she said was "I will cling to Christ like a burr on a topcoat."


Glimpses # 76. Worcester, Pennsylvania: Christian History Institute.

Bainton, Roland H. Here I Stand; a life of Martin Luther. New York: Mentor, 1950.

Petersen, William J. Martin Luther Had a Wife; Harriet Beecher Stowe Had a Husband. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1983.

Various segments in books on Christian women and various internet articles.

Last updated May, 2007.

No comments: