Katharina von Bora

Katharina von Bora Denkmal

As the strong woman at Martin Luther's side, Katharina von Bora was also known by the name, Mr. Käthe.

Katharina von Bora's life

Katharina von Bora was probably born on 29 January 1499 as the daughter of a landed gentry's family. At the end of 1504, her father put her in the Benedictine convent in Brehna for the purpose of her education. Later she entered the Cistercian convent of Marienthron in Nimbschen where she took her vows as a nun in 1515. Luther's teachings and his criticism of convent life also reached the nuns. Together with some sisters, Katharina fled the convent in 1523. They were supported in their flight by Martin Luther who also helped them in Wittenberg. During this time, Katharina got to know the Cranach's who put her up in their house. For the rest of her life, Luther's wife maintained a close friendship with Barbara and Lucas Cranach. After failed attempts to find other suitable partners for life, Luther and Katharina decided to marry.

Gemälde von Katharina von Bora

Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora were married on 13 June 1525 by Johannes Bugenhagen in the Black Convent.

The wedding celebrations were held on 27 June and to this day, the wedding reception is celebrated in Wittenberg in honor of the Luthers. The Luthers lived and worked in the former Augustinian monastery in Lutherstadt Wittenberg the management of which Katharina von Bora largely took over. As well as the administration, she also bred cattle, ran a brewery, and managed numerous estates. Many students and guests whom Katharina looked after, followed Luther's teachings here.

Katharina von Bora bore six children, three daughters and three sons.

Her daughter Elisabeth died while still a child which moved the Luthers deeply. After Martin Luther's death in 1546, Katharina von Bora fell into financial difficulties but she managed to recover with the support of aristocrats such as Duke Albrecht of Prussia or King Christian III of Denmark.

The plague and failed harvests forced her to flee Wittenberg in 1552. Katharina fled to Torgau where she died on 20 December 1552.