Born: August 21, 1821
Died: September 16, 1846
FEast: Sept. 20th
Patron of: Korea
St. Andrew Kim
AThe first native Korean priest, Andrew Kim Taegon was the son of Christian converts. Following his baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years, he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured, and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital.
Andrew's father Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839, and was beatified in 1925. Paul Chong Hasang, a lay apostle and married man, also died in 1839 at age 45.
Among the other martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. Peter Ryou, a boy of 13, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old nobleman, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.
Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. It took some time for Christianity to reach Korea because Korea did not have much contact with the outside world except for taking taxes to Beijing annually. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Religious freedom came to Korea in 1883.
Besides Andrew and Paul, Pope John Paul II canonized 98 Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867, when he visited Korea in 1984. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women and 45 men.
- Franciscan Media
To be the first to do what we wish already existed - that is where we ask you to guide us. To be fearless - even with the risk of judgement, of persecution, of setbacks, and ridicule, you persevered. When you faced the ultimate punishment for this, not even then did you turn back. Lead us to do the same, and to be as faithful as you. Amen.
Images of St. Andrew Kim are always very recognizeable because of his moustache and iconic hat and red stole. While I wanted this recognition to remain, I did try to modify the style a bit to appear as more acceptable streetwear. He smiles slightly as he knows who will really win this battle.