December 20–Katharina von Bora Luther

From the LCMS website:

Katharina von Bora (1499–1552) was placed in a convent when still a child and became a nun in 1515. In April 1523 she and eight other nuns were rescued from the convent and brought to Wittenberg. There Martin Luther helped return some to their former homes and placed the rest in good families. Katharina and Martin were married on June 13, 1525. Their marriage was a happy one and blessed with six children. Katharina skillfully managed the Luther household, which always seemed to grow because of his generous hospitality. After Luther’s death in 1546, Katharina remained in Wittenberg but lived much of the time in poverty. She died in an accident while traveling with her children to Torgau in order to escape the plague.

Hero Tales

Sonlight used to include a book in Core K called Hero Tales Volume One by Dave and Neta Jackson. Unfortunately, they swapped it out for something else before I had a chance to order, so I haven’t actually used the book in school. I *have* looked through it, though, and I think it’s a really cool idea (and from what I’ve seen, I would have preferred it way over its Sonlight replacement, I Heard Good News Today, by Cornelia Lehn, which we could just *not* get into). There are four volumes in the Hero Tales series, and each one has information on 15 heroes of the faith. There is a short biography on each, and then three short stories that recall accounts from specific life events. Volume One included stories about Martin Luther, D.L. Moody and John Wesley, among others.

This book got me thinking–wouldn’t it be great if there was a book that followed a similar format, but focused on Lutheran heroes of the faith? Sure we all know about Martin Luther, but what about the others? I know there must be someone out there qualified to write such a book (I also know that someone sure isn’t me!).

Every morning in school, we have calendar time, and we always check out our CPH church year calendar to see if there are any special commemorations that day. I can tell the children who the Biblical commemorations are for (if they don’t already know), and I can usually remember the major early church fathers, but I have to admit, I’m a little cloudy on some of the major players in Lutheran history. Johannes Bugenhagen? Fun to say, but I had to do some digging to find out who he actually was. And there are over 15 commemorations for key players in Lutheran history alone. That’s quite a lot of subject material.

Sure, I can (and often do) research the names on the calendar, but wouldn’t be great if there was a book out there, written on a middle to upper elementary school level, that could introduce our children to the men (and women–let’s not forget Katie Luther!) who shaped our church into what it is today? I could see it being useful in so many settings–Lutheran Day Schools, Confirmation classes, homeschools–so many opportunities for learning our history. I think it would be great to have a book that introduces children (and their families) to these people who may be unfamiliar, and shares how God used them to reform, share His Word, and shape, even if unknowingly, the denomination that we have today!

Quote of the Day

I would not trade my Kate for France and Venice for three reasons:  (1) Because God has given her to me and me to her. (2) I have seen, time and again, that other women have more faults than my Kate. (3) She is a faithful marriage partner; she is loyal and has integrity….To have grace and peace in marriage is a gift second only to the knowledge of the Gospel. “Kate, you have a god-fearing man who loves you. You are an empress; realize it and thank God for it.” From one of Martin Luther’s “Table Talks” as printed in Katharina Von Bora

Book Review: “Katharina Von Bora”

I guess in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit right off the bat that I was biased going into this book, being a Missouri Synod Lutheran and all.  That being said, I love Rudolf and Marilynn Markwald’s biography of the wife of the famous Martin Luther.

This is probably the easiest to read biography I have ever come across.  I’m sure part of that is the material, but it is also due to factors such as the fact that it reads more like a novel than a biography, and the fact that there is so much humor laced into the letters shared between the Luther family that were printed in the book.

Not only did this book give me a better understanding of Katie Luther’s life–the type of family she came from, her willingness to take desperate measures to leave the convent, how she came to marry Martin, and the family and home life she built for herself–I also gained a greater understanding of Martin Luther, as well as other key players in the Reformation, and the general political and religious climate of that time.

I also discovered how glad I am not to have been a wife and mother during the Reformation.  From the burden that fell on Katie’s shoulders in managing a very large household, full of family, friends, visitors and refugees (and with a very limited amount of money!), to the way she was treated by people who should have been kind to her following her husband’s death–she lived a life that I’m pretty sure I could not handle.

This is an excellent biography for anyone interested in the Reformation, the life of the Luther’s, or the birth of the Lutheran Church.