Martyrs of Korea
+ The Christian Faith reached Korea through the work of dedicated lay people early in the 17th century. A strong, vibrant community emerged, flourishing under lay leadership until 1836 when, in secret, members of the Paris Foreign Mission Society entered the country.
+ During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866 and 1868, one hundred and three members of the Christian community gave their lives as martyrs.
+ Two outstanding members of this group of martyrs were the first Korean priest and pastor, Andrew Kim Taegon, and the lay catechist, Paul Chong Hasang.
+ The list of martyrs also includes bishops and priests but most of the martyrs were lay men, women, and children.
+ Pope Saint John Paul II canonized the Martyrs of Korea in the cathedral in Seoul, Korea, in 1984. Together the martyrs are honored as the patrons of Korea.
For prayer and reflection
“The Korean Martyrs have borne witness to the crucified and risen Christ. Through the sacrifice of their own lives they have become like Christ in a very special way. The words of Saint Paul the Apostle could truly have been spoken by them: We are ‘always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies . . . We are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.’”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the canonization of the Martyrs of Korea
September 20 also marks the day the Church celebrates the memory of Blessed Mary Teresa of St. Joseph (Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch), the foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. A convert from Lutheranism, Mary Teresa was inspired to serve neglected children in Germany and, in 1912, she traveled to the United States and established the first community of her sisters in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Blessed Mary Teresa of St. Joseph died in 1938 and was beatified in 2006.
O God, you have created all nations and you are their salvation. In the land of Korea your call to Catholic faith formed a people of adoption, whose growth you nurtured by the blood of Andrew, Paul, and their companions. Through their martyrdom and their intercession grant us strength that we too may remain faithful to your commandments even until death. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.