Women’s History: Katharina von Zell

Katharina von Zell was a Protestant Reformer and an early supporter of Martin Luther. She also played a controversial role as the wife of a former priest who’d become a Protestant clergyman. Katharina willingly opened their home to visiting students and other Reformers, often at great danger in doing so. Among her first writings was a defense of her own marriage against opponents of clerical marriage.

But despite controversy, Katharina von Zell became well known in her Strasbourg church, and beyond, for her pastoral writings. One of her well-known works was a reflection on Psalm 51, Psalm 130, and the Lord’s Prayer, written in 1558 as encouragement for an ill friend. She included dozens of quotations and references from the Bible.

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