The air was cold and damp as Leonard Koppe and his nephew guided twelve women aboard their merchant’s wagon in the early morning hours of Holy Saturday. This band of a dozen left the comfort of the convent to flee and find a new life within the realm of a new time in history. The crucifixion of Jesus, Christ was a fleeting memory and tomorrow they would be celebrating His victory over the grave and eternal life for those who believed.
The women squeezed tightly between empty barrels of pickled herring which had been earlier delivered to the convent. Imagine the stench – the discomfort – the fear that dwelt in their hearts as they undertook this journey. They were an unimportant group of women, yet they had a mission. The message of the Reformation was well underway by this time. It was more than five years since the 95 Theses were posted on the door of the Church at Wittenburg.
Katarina von Bora was one of these women. Sent to the convent as a child, she would learn to read, write and manage a household for the next twenty years. Most likely, Katarina was a devout nun, devoting her life to Christ and the church. However, the church was in disarray. A German monk was stirring things up with his radical thinking and the entire movement became quite intriguing for this small band of women. They appealed to Luther to help them escape from the convent.
Once the nuns had successfully fled the convent, Luther placed them in homes of his friends and found husbands for some of them as well. God had a special plan for Katarina. She stood her ground and refused to marry Casper Glatz, a Wittenberg professor who had proposed to her. Eventually she married Luther, bore six children and managed the home that was open to countless visitors.
Their marriage became the standard for pastoral Christian homes. They worked together as a team. Luther often referred to her as “darling” or “morning star of Wittenberg, but also called her Katie, his Lord. There was a mutual work ethic. One supported the other in everything they did. The love that seemed impossible at first, grew into a tightly knit bond which lasted until Martin’s death twenty years later.
Of course the idea of a former priest and nun becoming married was unthinkable at the time, but then so was everything else that happened during the Reformation.