Matthias Zell was a Catholic priest, who, after his conversion to Protestantism during the Reformation, married and was one of the first priests to be excommunicated from the Catholic church. His wife, Katherina (1497-1562) was a writer, who loved to converse about the Kingdom of God. She said of herself, “Ever since I was ten years old I have been a student and sort of church mother, much given to attending sermons. I have loved and frequented the company of learned men, and I conversed much with them, not about dancing, masquerades, and worldly pleasures but about the kingdom of God.” Those who visited her home said that she “conversed with them on theology so intelligently that they ranked her above many doctors.”
After her husband’s death, Katherine’s grief was profound, but she continued on the work. When a minister was forced to leave his church because of the retaliation against Protestantism and 150 men of his parish were evicted, Katherine looked after 80 people in the parsonage (which she had been allowed to keep) and fed 60 in her home for three weeks. She also defended Protestantism in a letter to the people of Strasbourg. She also helped feed and clothe thousands of refugees who fled to Strasbourg after their defeat in the Peasant’s War. When criticized once for speaking against a minister who claimed that she disturbed the peace, she replied, ““Do you call this disturbing the peace that instead of spending my time in frivolous amusements I have visited the plague-infested and carried out the dead? I have visited those in prison and under sentence of death. Often for three days and three nights I have neither eaten nor slept. I have never mounted the pulpit, but I have done more than any minister in visiting those in misery.”
Sounds like the apostle Paul’s claims, to me (1 Corinthians 4:10-13).
Katherine Zell defended her equality to a critic who suggested women should be silent in church by quoting Galatians 3:28–there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ.
Information for this post came from here and here
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2 replies on “Heroines of the faith: Katherine Zell”
This was a neat post, Felicity, with perfect timing. A recent theme of my SeeingGod Ministries has been the Kingdom of God. I shared this link to my FB page so others could check it out too! Here is what I said with the post,
“Talking about the Kingdom of God isn’t a new thing … Katherine Zell was talking about it a lot in the early 1500’s. Doesn’t that reinforce the idea that we are all part of something much larger than ourselves that transcends even time itself? Cool!”
Founder, SeeingGod Ministries
Thanks Kristina. There are so many amazing women in history who we virtually never hear anything about. I love what I’m learning as I write these posts too.