Katharina turns it into a lucrative hostel for students and other guests - with full board. Martin Luther is world renowned. This attracts guests from near and far. It’s like a carnival, they say. Up to 50 people are in the house every day. Apart from the large family, servants, maids and guests must all be provided for. And all that is managed by the “Lutherin”. Katharina brews her own beer and has a wine cellar built. That many people in the house need space. The monastery is extended. Katharina oversees the building work. Apart from that, she looks after Luther’s surrounding estate. She decides when and how the money is spent. Luther, obviously as master of the house, just has to sign and, anyway, women in those days are hardly allowed to make any independent decisions. Tellingly, Luther writes to a cabinetmaker, “Kathy said I should order a chest”. On another occasion, he refers to Katharina as his “Lord”, a title which Luther means affectionately.
With the hostel, their country estates, large herds of livestock, and the professor salary, the Luthers are among the most prosperous families in Wittenberg.
His reformatory manuscripts have brought Martin Luther world renown, but no additional income. Sitting beside the students at his table, are prince electors and dukes, together with the household staff.
Martin Luther and his wife Katharina have six children. Although they are well cared for and no one must go hungry in the Luther household, two of them die very young - as in many other families, too. Only every second child in these times grows to adulthood. This is due to insufficient or unbalanced nutrition, a lack of medicine, hygiene and infectious diseases.
Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther are married for over 20 years. In 1546, the reformer dies. Although he has appointed her sole heir in his will, there are hard times ahead. Only a few months after Luther’s death, the Smalkadian War breaks out between the Protestants and Catholics. Katharina must flee Wittenberg, only able to return in July 1547. The hostel business doesn’t do so well without Martin Luther as the main attraction. In 1552, Katharina must again take flight - this time from the Plague. En route to Torgau, she meets with a serious accident and dies of the consequences that same year. Her gravestone stands in the Marienkirche of Torgau. Today, her former home, the “Lutherhaus” in Wittenberg, is a museum and thus the central memorial to the life and times of the reformer Martin Luther and his “Lady Kathy”.