With six children of her own besides several orphans, motherhood, as we have seen, had become a full-time job. Add to that adult relatives, students and strangers, and it would seem as though she would have had no time for anything else. But she did. Truly Katie was a workaholic, in part because she could not depend on her husband for financial security. He was heading for old age when she had married him, and it would be left to her to provide for her children’s future.
For most of her married life, Katie ran a boarding house. Except when her husband canceled their bill, young men paid her for room and board in her Black Cloister home. A bed-and-breakfast of today is no comparison. A term that best describes the general state of affairs is bedlam. Prince George of Anhalt, traveling to Wittenberg, was warned against staying at the Black Cloister then “occupied by a motley crowd of boys, students, girls, widows, old women and youngsters.” The writer lamented this primarily because of the “much disturbance” that interfered with the work of “the good man, the honorable father.” The three-story structure had “forty rooms on the ground floor alone” and “was at times so chaotic that it is a wonder Luther was able to work.” In the midst of this bedlam Katie soldiered through the day as though it were normal.