Marry monks again

M 10.4 Runaway nun marries outlawed monk - The great love?



  • Think about what expectations you have of a future partner.

  • Compare your ideas with what you know about Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther.

A love marriage?

Catherine v. Bora had fled with eight other nuns from the Nimbschen monastery to Wittenberg. Luther took them on there and justified their escape afterwards.

The escaped were accommodated in different households and were looked after there. Katharina lived with the family of the painter Lucas Cranach. There she met a patrician son from Nuremberg, Hieronymus Baumgartner, whom she would have liked to have married. His family, however, was against marriage to a runaway nun and impoverished nobleman. She turned down a marriage candidate suggested by Luther. In the meantime the other nuns were married or otherwise looked after, only Katharina remained single. She confided to a friend of Luther that she was ready to marry Luther, but Luther was still a monk in 1524.

When the two finally married on June 13, 1525, it was probably one of the two very conscious choices. Martin Luther was already 42 years old, 16 years older than Katharina von Bora.

In the following 9 years Katharina Luther gave birth to 6 children.

For the contemporaries of the Lutherans, the marriage between an escaped nun and a monk was a provocation. It was said that the "Antichrist" (who fights against Christ) would come from a marriage between a nun and a monk. Because of her marriage to Luther, Katharina had to endure many accusations and defamations. Many statements about his wife have come down to us from Martin Luther, which show that he valued and admired her very much, in the way she managed and organized the family and the large housekeeping.
  • Write a letter that Katharina writes to a former co-sister the day after the wedding.

M 11.1 Reformation in the church building

Materials Reformation: Download [pdf] [1.5 MB]