Katharina von Bora was probably born on January 29, 1499, to a family of landed gentry. At the end of 1504, her father gave her to the Brehna Benedictine convent for educational purposes.
Later, she joined the Cistercian convent 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 nuns, Katharina fled in 1523, supported in their escape by Martin Luther, who also assisted them in Wittenberg. During this time, Katharina met the Cranach couple, in whose household she found accommodation. Throughout her life, Luther had a close friendship with Barbara and Lucas Cranach. After attempts with other possible marriage partners failed, Luther and Katharina decided to marry together.
Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora were married by Johannes Bugenhagen in the Black Monastery on June 13, 1525. The wedding ceremony took place on June 27 and even today the wedding feast is celebrated in honor of the Luthers in Wittenberg.
The Luthers lived and worked in the former Augustinian monastery in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the management of which was largely taken over by Katharina von Bora. In addition to the administration, she ran livestock and a brewery and farmed the numerous estates. The teachings of Luther were followed here by numerous students and guests, whom Katharina catered for.
Katharina von Bora gave birth to six children, three daughters and three sons. Her daughter Elisabeth died in early childhood, which deeply moved the Luther couple. After Martin Luther's death in 1546, Katharina von Bora fell into economic hardship, but with the support of the nobility, such as Duke Albrecht of Prussia or King Christian III of Denmark, she was able to recover economically.
Plague and crop failures forced her to flee Wittenberg in 1552. Catherine fled to Torgau, where she died on December 20, 1552.