Martin Luther’s Vocation

Giancarlo Pani SJ

 Giancarlo Pani SJ / Church Thought / 15 March 2018

A topic like Luther’s vocation does not capture the attention of his biographers. It is taken for granted. Everyone talks about it, but only in a generic way. In truth, the facts are not so apparent.

Luther entered the monastery when he was 21 years old, after a storm. On July 2, 1505, while returning to Erfurt from Mansfeld where he was visiting some relatives, he was caught in a storm near Stotternheim, a few kilometers from home. Lightning struck nearby and he was terrified by the possibility of his imminent death. So he made a vow to St. Anne (the mother of Mary) that he would become a monk if he survived.[1] The saint was patroness of miners and he had heard her name many times at home as his father had worked as a miner. In any case, two weeks later, on July 17, Luther entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt and began the path of religious life as a novice.

His father had convinced him to study law. He came from a poor family and was dependent upon his father’s work in the mines. At about the same time, his father’s entrepreneurial spirit improved their position and he sought a good career for his son and a high position in society to help improve the family’s situation.

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