This week in Christian history: Female Reformation leader dies, missionary expelled, Crusader born

Katharina Schütz Zell dies – Sept. 5, 1562

Katharina Zell
Katharina Schütz Zell (circa 1498-1562), a Protestant Reformation writer and humanitarian. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Katharina Schütz Zell, a prominent female writer and supporter of the ideas of the Protestant Reformation, died.

A native of Strasbourg in modern day France, Zell married a Protestant pastor in 1525 and often wrote commentaries on Bible passages and defended Protestant ideas like clerical marriage.

Ulrich Zwingli, one of the most notable Reformation leaders, once referred to Zell as someone who “combines the graces of both Mary and Martha.”

“Katharina and Matthew Zell established a remarkable partnership in ministry, working closely together. They shared the pastoral activities of welcoming refugees and traveling reformers, aiding the needy and displaced, and visiting the sick and imprisoned or dying,” according to

“The ministry of hospitality exemplified in their reception of the refugees from Kentzingen continued throughout the marriage, and was carried on vigorously during the years of Zell's solo ministry after she was widowed.”

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