Every churchgoer knows about Martin Luther, the rumbustuous leader of the Reformation, but few realise the influence that his wife had on his ministry. Early in his personal reformation Luther became convinced that there was no reason why parish priests should not marry, if they preferred it, but he did not feel inclined to break his clerical oath himself. That was until he met Catherine von Bora.
Catherine was the leader of a daring breakout from a convent reserved for nuns of noble birth. At first Luther was a little afraid of her but they married two years later on the 13th June 1525. She prolonged Luther's life by protecting him from the reckless overwork to which he subjected himself. She made the garden of the unfinished Augustine Convent that was her home, profitable - keeping pigs, cows and chickens. She took over three other gardens and planted fruit trees and started small scale farming. She made her home a haven of rest for the storm tossed man that was her husband.
Luther once said, 'Next to God's Word, the world has no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God's best gift is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing, wife, with whom you may live peaceefully, to whom you may entrust your goods, your body, and your life.'