+ Yi Agatha was raised as a Christian and, during one of the periodic persecutions of Korea’s Christians, she was imprisoned with her father and mother.
+ Agatha was repeatedly interrogated and tortured, as the authorities tried to force her to renounce her faith. Agatha remained steadfast, even after the prison guards lied to her, telling the young woman that her parents had denied Christ and been freed.
+ The torture continued. Agatha’s father, Yi Kwang-hŏn Augustine, was beheaded on May 24, 1839, and her mother, Kwon Hŭi Barbara, was executed on September 3, 1839. After nine months of imprisonment, Agatha was strangled to death on January 9, 1840, at the age of 17.
+ Saint Agatha Yi—as well as her parents—were canonized with other Korean martyrs in 1984.
“The splendid flowering of the Church in Korea today is indeed the fruit of the heroic witness of the Martyrs. Even today, their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the North of this tragically divided land.”—Pope Saint John Paul II, Homily at the Canonization of the Korean Martyrs
O God, who gladden us today with the annual commemoration of blessed Agatha, graciously grant that we may be helped by her merits, just as our lives are lit up by the splendor of her example of chastity and fortitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For a Virgin Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.