Katharina Schütz Zell was my kind of woman. A Reformation woman from Strasbourg, she was devoted to learning as well as service. As was typical, she had no formal education, but she did not let that stop her:
Her lack of formal higher education did not hold her back, quite the contrary: she continued her independent learning throughout her life. She studied the lectionary and Luther's 1522 New Testament translation (which replaced the earlier German Bible dating from 1485) and other of Luther's works. Her correspondence with major reformers, such as Bucer, Capito, Hedio, Calvin, and Luther, served as an important form of "distance learning." Her marital years would become the essential period for her theological formation and the time in which she found her own voice as a theologian. In that regard, her husband's role would be vital in welcoming and supporting Katharina's ambitions and initiatives with apparently no "ifs and buts."
Women today can follow in Katharina's footsteps. We can study from a distance with great ease. There is so much at our fingertips. Books are much cheaper and easier to get than they would have been for Katharina, and formal education is available. However, if a woman cannot attend formal education, she has so much at her disposal to learn from, beginning with many resources to help her understand Scripture. And unlike Katharina, we have modern conveniences to help us with domestic chores. There is time. It's up to us to use it well.